On March 9, 2011, Billboard chart-topping band the Decemberists sent a letter to Oregon members of Congress in support of public radio and open internet access. The Portland, Oregon band has sold more than 1.25 million records worldwide, in part due to their ability to reach fans via the internet and non-commercial radio.
Dear members of the Oregon Congressional delegation:
We are writing to you as members of the Decemberists, and also as proud citizens of Oregon. We wanted to inform you, as representatives for our state, about a couple of issues of utmost importance to a segment of your constituency: musicians and other contributors to Oregon’s creative economy. In order to continue doing what we do, our community requires access to the internet and a supportive broadcast media. We are concerned with recent Congressional activity around these crucial platforms, and urge you to consider the impact of your decisions on the creative sector.
[This post is by FMC Policy Intern Adam Holofcener, who bravely attended the Students for Free Culture Conference (Feb. 19-20), and furnished this report.]
This past weekend, Students for Free Culture (SFC) held their annual conference at New York University. The event was loaded with lamentations about the current state of copyright, complemented by youthful exuberance for a future based in access and innovation. (We might add compensation for creators to that list.) read more
OK Go have been doing fine without a major label, though, and they’re not alone. Casey Rae Hunter of the Future of Music Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, says there has been an explosion of independent musicians who can now reach their fans without a label or radio.
“In the old days, they would still have to navigate this pretty complex system of bottlenecks and gatekeepers to reach the fan,” Hunter says. “The Internet means that you can develop and cultivate these sort of one-on-one relationships. They can become viral, like as in the case of the amazing OK Go videos that you see on YouTube. Or it can be just a sort of like, ‘Holy crap, I’m talking to my favorite rock star on Twitter.’ “