You might recall last month’s newsletter item about web.illish.us â€” a series of multi-faceted events in Philadelphia that benefits FMC’s Rock the Net campaign. web.illish.us raises awareness about the issue of net neutrality in themed installments that take place at Philadelphia’s Silk City on the third Wednesday of the month through February 18, 2009.
The next episode, “Digital Love,” takes place on December 17, at 9PM, and features musical acts Lo Life (members of Brothers Past, Biodiesel and MJ Project), Dialects (members of Burndown All Stars) and Dephonic. DJs Law One and Ras Heights will keep the party going in between live sets. The theme this time around is digital inclusion â€” the idea of equal broadband access for everyone, no matter what background or walk of life. Todd Wolfson of Media Mobilizing Project will lead a discussion about this important concept, featuring Beth McConnell of the Media and Democracy Coalition, the Reverend Jesse Brown and Phuong Ninh of the Philadelphia Student Union. Charles Gregory of 3 Guys Don’t Lie (http://www.3guysdontlie.tv/home.html) will once again play host.
One of the coolest things about web.illish.us is the fact that you don’t have to attend to attend. What? You read that right â€” the shows are all live webcast at http://web.illish.us. There’s even a live chat that lets you connect with all the other remote viewers.
If you missed the last episode (virtually or in-person), you can check out a video archive here. You can also join the web.illish.us Facebook group!
We’re very excited about our upcoming D.C. Policy Day, which takes place at National Geographic Music and Radio and National Geographic Live! here in Washington on February 11, 2009. This one-day policy event will include three panels, two keynote speeches and a special conversation. Since we’re coming right out of a major election, it’ll be a great opportunity to learn about how changes in the policymaking landscape might affect the music community.
We also hope Policy Day ‘09 sill help establish an agenda that benefits musicians and music fans. And you can be part of the conversation. We’ll be announcing the full lineup of speakers and panels shortly, but we wanted to give our faithful newsletter readers the first shot at registration. As always, we’ll be offering a limited number of musicians scholarships; head here for more information.
With all the talk about this having been a “change” election, it seems reasonable to expect that some of these changes will impact the music community, and FMC couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to examine what a new Administration, Congress and FCC might mean for musicians.
FMC is non-partisan, but we recognize that the last eight years haven’t resulted in a lot of culture-friendly policy. In an analysis published on November 5 (how’s that for turnaround?), we outlined key areas for improvement that might point the way to positive policy outcomes, sustainable cultural communities and the flourishing of music â€” locally, nationally, over the air and on the web.
FMC Post-election analysis
Wired on FMC’s analysis
FMC staff just returned from the Big Easy, where we co-hosted the fourth annual Artist Activism Camp with Air Traffic Control. The three-day retreat brought emerging and established musicians from around the country together to talk about ways to use their status as artists to work for positive social change.
The Camps are followed by an all-star benefit concert for Sweet Home New Orleans â€” a non-profit group that provides housing and financial assistance to Crescent City musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and this year’s concert was another huge success. “Musicians Bringing Musicians Home IV” featured live sets and collaborations from/with Will Oldham (Bonnie “Prince” Billy), Nicole Atkins, Hank Shocklee (Bomb Squad, Future Frequency), Alec Ounsworth (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), Jonny 5 and Brer Rabbit (Flobots), Waterflow (of Senegalese hip-hop band Wageble), Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, members of brass band Bonerama and jazz vocalist John Boutte.
Check out this Flickr page for pics of the activities and festivities.
Hey, musicians! Got a burning question about how changes at the intersection of law, technology and policy will affect musicians and songwriters in the future? Well, we might just be able to get you an answer.
All you gotta do is send us a video of you asking your question â€” remember, it should be about how technology, policy or law relates to music â€” and we’ll try to incorporate it into the programming for our upcoming Policy Day (see above).
We’ll also post some of your queries on FMC’s blog, and we’ll even do our best to give you something approaching an answer. At the very least, you’ll be that much closer to achieving music-wonk-viral video stardom.
Just follow these simple rules:
* the clip should be no longer than 20 seconds
* it can be submitted as a Quicktime (.mov) or MP4 (.m4v) video file.
* NTSC format is preferred, but we will accept PAL
* please don’t use any music in the clip
Here’s the intro script you should use:
“Hi, I’m [your name] from [band or affiliation of some sort] and what I want to know is…”
Send your video question to: video [at] futureofmusic [dot] org. Please put “FMC video” in the subject line. We’ll be in touch if we decide to use it!
White Spaces are unoccupied TV frequencies that can be used by new, “smart” technologies for a slew of purposes, including getting broadband to hard-to-service areas. Since FMC works to ensure that artists and fans can use emerging technologies to create, distribute and discover new music, we think that this part of the spectrum, if properly used, could open up a lot of possibilities for artists. The way we see it, White Spaces might ultimately help artists connect with more people and build digital bridges to more communities.
As with any new technology, there are considerations regarding implementation. All arts advocates are justifiably concerned that the development of White Space devices could have a negative impact on the ability of wireless microphones to operate without interruption. FMC believes any issues between White Spaces advocates and the performing arts community can be resolved, as long as all parties can engage in constructive dialog. So we’ve been working to make sure these conversations happen.
On Tuesday, November 4, 2008, the FCC voted to approve rules authorizing the use of White Spaces for new devices, which will set the stage for further testing. On the day of the FCC decision, we put together a statement that articulates our position on White Spaces, and recognizes the value of continued conversation among stakeholders.
FMC Policy Director Michael Bracy recently spoke with Charles McEnerney of Well-Rounded Radio about why policy matters to the everyday artist, and how decisions made in Washington impact the entire music community â€” from creator to fan and everyone in between.
Michael also spent some time discussing the issue of net neutrality and FMC’s Rock the Net campaign, which raises awareness about the importance of the open internet to musicians and fans.
Check out Michael’s interview here.
The Rock the Net CD, which features Wilco, Aimee Mann, They Might Be Giants, Bright Eyes and more, was released in July 2008 via Thirsty Ear Records. You can pick up a copy at Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody or your favorite record shop.
Rock the Net
Speaking of the internet… Tuesday, December 2 saw a major briefing on Capitol Hill by a variety of groups from the public and private sector about the importance of developing a national broadband strategy. This “call to action” was all about establishing affordable broadband access for all Americans ? something we at FMC can get behind. In fact, we think digital inclusion and broadband deployment are key to the emergence of a legitimate digital music marketplace where fans can find the music they want, and more artists can reach those fans without the interference of gatekeepers and middlemen.
For the past few years, FMC has been an active participant in the Social Science Research Center’s Necessary Knowledge program, which works to ensure that debates about media and communications technologies are shaped by high-quality research and a rich understanding of the public interest.
As part of its work, SSRC has built a Media Research Hub, which is an excellent information source and networking tool for social science researchers.
SSRC also offers collaborative grants, which pairs interested researchers with research requests developed by various advocacy groups, and SSRC offers “bounties” of up to $7,500 to fund this work.
FMC’s bounty is called “Are HD Radio Stations Serving the Public Interest?” Read the details here.
Interested in the work? Follow the directions and apply!
We’ve definitely been getting around lately. Here’s a taste of where we’ve been:
On Thursday, Oct. 2, FMC co-founding Board member Walter McDonough moderated a panel on Net Neutrality at Pop Montreal that featured some of Quebec’s leading authorities on music and the internet. Panelists included Canadian rocker Patrick Watson, Keith Serry of the Canadian Music Creators Coalition, Alain Brunet of La Presse, NDP candidate for Parliament Anne Legace-Dowson and Anthony Hemond from Quebec Union des consommateurs. In the spirit of Quebec, Walter moderated the panel in English and French. Walter also saw his favorite band of all time Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and the incomparable Burt Bacharach. Says Walter: “Mr. Bacharach proved two things: 80 year old men can still rock the house and everyone knows the lyrics to ‘Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head!’”
Annenberg Center for Public Policy
In late October, Kristin was a guest lecturer at the Annenberg Center for Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. She spent the afternoon at a senior level class on media policy and advocacy taught by Jeff Chester from the Center for Digital Democracy, where she talked about FMC’s successful use of research, messaging and constituent activism to influence policymaking.
From October 29 - November 2, FMC’s Jean Cook and Ann Chaitovitz were in Spain for the annual WOMEX world music expo. Their presentation, “Finding Common Ground Across an Increasing Digital Divide,” examined how musicians can create and survive in a globalized, digital world. They also gave an overview of FMC’s work.
On Monday, November 24, FMC’s Casey Rae-Hunter joined Washington, D.C. radio activists for a screening of the award-winning documentary Pirate Radio USA (http://www.pirateradiousa.com) at the Black Cat nightclub. The film was followed by a panel discussion about Low Power FM radio. The near-capacity crowd was itching to get involved, filling up the majority of the allotted time with inspired questions. The event demonstrated unmistakable enthusiasm for Low Power and community radio in larger media markets like Washington.
FMC in Ethiopia
Members of the FMC team headed to the 1,000 Stars Festival of Music and Dance, held annually in Arba Minch, Ethiopia, from December 10-17. This is the first of several trips over the next two years to regions such as Central Asia, the African Rift Valley, and Australia, where FMC will be talking to musicians and artists about their lives and music.
The Ethiopia excursion is part of a current project to document the experiences of indigenous artists around the world. We’re very excited about building upon our domestic research to learn more about how the international music community can maintain access to markets and garner compensation, while encouraging continued creativity, innovation and variety.