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Posts Tagged ‘Future of Music Coalition’

I had too many great sources for my first-ever music feature in Boise Weekly, which came out in newsprint yesterday in Idaho. So I wanted to share a few more things these folks told me on the record. First of all, my title for the piece was “The Future of Music Will No Longer Fit Into the Containers of the Past: Strategies for Working Musicians from Industry Innovators at SXSW.”

Had to cut my opening line: “Sixth street is the cultural center of Austin, Texas, a city whose identity as “live music capital of the world” is now a registered trademark, just like its favorite slogan “keep Austin weird.””

One of my favorite things that Leeor Brown of Terrorbird and Friends of Friends told me about Been Meaning to Tell You, the latest record by Ernest Gonzales is: “It’s only a month later and Ernest’s amazing album is not a brand new record anymore! Four stars in Urb is already old news. I can’t go back to NPR a month later and be like, would you write that up again?”

Page from Ernest Gonzales' book

My friend Casey Rae-Hunter, communications director for Future of Music Coalition said: “When you look at the mobile space you’re going to be seeing people are going to get really used to accessing music in the cloud. They might eventually get used to not even ‘owning’ a digital file. Or maybe they will download it and they’ll have it on their home computer or stored on a server somewhere, but they’ll be able to access it via broadband or wi-fi or cell network on all of their devices.

“Apple bought Lala, and they may introduce a ‘cloud locker’ component to their iTunes service. That would let you play your stuff on any Apple device from wherever you are.”

My friend Eddie Sumlin of A Visual Sound didn’t make it into the piece at all but added: “I think the future of music is gonna be about creating authentic experiences. Radio is dope. I listen to people all around the world because I respect what they program. I go see certain artists because they bring a certain type of thing live. They do something that you could never experience digitally.”

Casey also said: “One reason the major labels are struggling is that they kind of lost the ability to inspire fans. Everyone’s trying to figure out how to compete with free. Well, you have to be able to sell to the hardcore fan. What the industry might need to figure out is how to monetize the behavioral activities the customers are already engaged in. And that’s the expectation of access on-demand. It’s conceivable that consumers will embrace streaming pretty much across the board if the business models allow it and the stuff is licensed and available. There’s an entire new generation that simply wants to be able to get what they want when they want it on whatever gadget they’re using. And it would be an added benefit if they wouldn’t get sued and it compensated artists.”

Finn Riggins rock out in a parking lot

I asked Bryan Calhoun, VP for new media at Sound Exchange, what he was doing ten years ago when Congress created the nonprofit royalty-collection agency. He replied: “Roughly ten years ago, I was doing A&R and marketing for record labels. There are hardly anymore A&R people period. With all the tools available to people, everybody can record, release and market themselves. Barriers to entry were still there ten years ago. The big problem now is getting above the clutter. So how do you stand above the rest, get into a position to make a living from your music? 2200 bands showcasing? What’s the end goal? Getting signed to a major record label? More and more people don’t see that as the holy grail anymore. Many artists and managers are looking forward to their contract expiring so they can do their own thing.”

Of working for Sound Exchange, Bryan told me: “I’ve got probably the coolest job. I contact artists and tell them I’ve got money to give them. Our board of directors is made up half of label people and half of artist people. Those are the people that get paid from Sound Exchange so it is in their interest to do their job efficiently.”

I asked Priya Dewan, US label manager for the mighty Warp Records, about their acquisition of new artists to the label. She said: “We’re constantly looking for new talent and signing new talent. New artists and existing artists putting out great new records… We can’t count on our back catalog. The more new cool and fresh new artists we get the better our chances are. People come to us because we have such a great roster.”

I asked how the Internet’s openness has contributed to Warp finding new musicians.

She said: “We’ve got specific sites that we visit to find out about up-and-coming artists. Talking to other artists, going to shows, reading blogs. A combination of things get us interested in the artists. Anybody who suggests a good music blog to me gets added to my Google Reader. I check that once a day. A lot of times our artists tell us about new artists. We get at least 10 to 15 demos a week on a slow week, physical and digital. When we put out a Grizzly Bear or Battles record, we’ll get a whole lot of demos that sound like them. I can’t think of an unsolicited demo we’ve listened to, where we called them back, and it resulted in signing.”

There was also more I was going to write about Finn Riggins, but Boise Weekly editors felt there had been a lot of coverage of their trip to Austin, so I kept it narrowed down to a partial list of their team and the story of vocalist/guitar player Lisa Simpson seeing some talented buskers. The one other funny thing she told me about sixth street in Austin was about a guy running down the street, pulling up his shirt to reveal a ‘Truffle Shuffle’ and yelling, “MTV Spring Break!” She said she looked at this dude, flashing his chest, and thought, “Is that for real? What is he on?” Ah, sixth street during SXSW. I miss it already.

View of 6th Street from patio stage of The Wave

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Casey Rae-Hunter and Bryan Calhoun

The Future of Music Coalition is a national nonprofit organization that works to ensure a diverse musical culture where artists flourish, are compensated fairly for their work, and where fans can find the music they want.

Communications Director Casey Rae-Hunter and I got caught up on some music policy and emerging business models before he came with me to the Warp Records showcase. Bryan Calhoun is on their board of directors, but he works at Sound Exchange, the nonprofit that collects royalties for musicians. He has been involved behind the scenes with Kanye West, Dead Prez and many others.

Casey was most excited Wednesday about a panel called The Cloud Vs. The Paradise of Infinite Storage. Really cool stuff, check it out.

More about who Future of Music is, from their site:

Founded in June 2000 by musicians, artist advocates, technologists and legal experts, Future of Music Coalition works to ensure that musicians have a voice in the issues that affect their livelihood. FMC’s work is rooted in the real-world experiences and ambitions of working musicians, whose perspectives are often overlooked in policy debates. Over the years, FMC has provided an important forum for discussion about issues at the intersection of music, technology, policy and law. Guided by a firm conviction that public policy has real impact on the lives of both musicians and fans, FMC advocates for a balanced approach to music in the digital age — one that reflects the interests of all stakeholders, and not just the powerful few. By documenting historic and emerging trends in the music industry, FMC has become a trusted voice in the ongoing dialog about the challenges and opportunities facing today’s musicians. In fighting for a legitimate digital music marketplace and a broadcast media that values local and independent culture, FMC helps establish a healthier music ecosystem.

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Glover, Damon, Brolin, Mortensen join Zinn's cast

The People Speak: When TV makes history by Dave Zirin

ACORN inquiry finds nothing illegal, faults bad leadership

Can the government ban political speech to fight terrorism? from FEP Project

ACLU loses $20m donor from NY Times

Take me to your climate leader by Amy Goodman

Cheney for president? by William Rivers Pitt

Alberto Gonzales: What I’ve Learned from Esquire

Obama again reminds America he’s not a Black President

Why journalist Gary Webb died from Consortium News

Grammys to award homophobia? from Change.org

Will Apple take a dip in the stream? from Future of Music Coalition

PLUS: On-demand all-you-can-eat streaming for $5 with MOG

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Project Censored: Venezuela/Colombia war threat

Clear Channel’s frightening plans for 2010

Promoting broadband diversity within the law by Mark Lloyd

Libraries dying for bandwidth from Ars Technica

Cable companies’ big Internet swindle from Free Press

EU overcomes final hurdle for overhaul of telecom rules

Defining open mobile from Telephony Online

Why AT&T can’t win its ‘map for that’ battle with Verizon

Jackson Sun editor goofs on citizen journalism

Artists incomes dip in recession from Future of Music Coalition

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John Dean: Why Cheney pushed so hard to get a pardon for Libby

TOP 4

House passes resolution 344-36 calling Gaza war crimes report ‘unworthy’

EDITORIAL: Some sense on defense spending by NY Times

Elizabeth Warren wields plan in fight over credit rules

YIKES: Project Censored round-up of the British police state

POLICY

Pro-net neutrality professors say FCC’s proposal is ambiguous

Andy Schwartzman on the upcoming FCC ownership review

One Economy proposes Digital Literacy Initiative broadband plan

Future of Music Coalition wants FCC to become radio data central

Copyright Alliance & music publishers support IP czar Victoria Espinel

Victoria Espinel qualified, but likely powerless from Excess Copyright

MEDIA

EU eyes ‘digital divide’ after DTV transition by Matthew Lasar

Nielsen: Radio reaches 77% of adults daily (5 city study)

FCC lowers the plank for Florida pirate, $2500 settlement

HEALTH

Sit-in for single-payer at Rep. Pelosi’s office from Dollars and Sense

Rep. Kucinich: Not giving up on state single payer

28 male anti-choice Dems are stalling health reform

GOP bill would allow insurers to ignore consumer protections

Gore controversy, advocate & investor

Federal prosecutor: Medical marijuana raids won’t stop

Colorado health department changes ‘caregiver’ rule for marijuana

TECH & PRESS & OPINION

Shield law would protect student journalists from SPLC

Editorial: Pass shield law quickly from NY Times

Virginia’s elections are unconstitutional from Project Censored

Newsosaur: Pay walls mixed with free access

Pesticide industry rep. picked for trade post draws fire

Droid vs. iPhone really about Verizon vs. AT&T

O’Reilly to Hume: You don’t have a conservative viewpoint

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Bush covered up global warming, hid info from Dems from Raw Story

Carbon emissions must peak by 2015 from Common Dreams

At UN, US votes against Gaza war crimes report endorsement

Code Pink delivers Afghani women’s petition to end war to Obama

(more…)

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Full hour Special Comment on health reform by Keith Olbermann

Book review: Untold history of the NSA

Hyperlocal news catching on from Paid Content

Hawaiians oppose covert media consolidation from Stop Big Media

(more…)

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