Future of Music Summit 2013: Liveblog


3:41 – Wrapping Up

Well folks, it’s been a great time liveblogging for you, but I’ve got to get back on the road to upstate New York and start tackling the big pile of work waiting for me. Please make sure you follow me on Twitter and come back to Songhack for more on the present and future of music. It’s been a pleasure liveblogging this amazing conference for you!

3:14 – Library of Alexandria

Pearlman is riffing on the “transfinite music library”, a concept inspired by the Library of Alexandria. All music ever recorded stored in a format that’s as easy to share as a single MP3 — we’re not there yet, but we’re inexorably headed that way. What then?

“The more [recordings of different] performances you expose people to, the more information they can internalize” about the musician’s intention.

Pearlman’s “greater and greatest fool theory”:

3:01 – Sandy Pearlman

“Against all odds and all reasonable expectations”, there are still tens of thousands of musicians being educated in colleges.

Pearlman is discussing growth in demand for music in the video game industry, and how music directors and producers for video games moved past “in the box” production toward more traditional recording techniques. Consumers prefer this sonic experience over “machine music”, though analog video game music still holds a special place in vintage gamers’ hearts.

Don’t know Pearlman? He’s got a pretty impressive resume: check it out on Wikipedia.

2:12pm – Music Education

As a music career coach and education program producer (Band as Business), I couldn’t miss the panel on music education.

Right now we’re discussing the dynamic between going for a music career, and going for a career in music, which are less different goals than the average musician believes. As anyone in the industry knows, the business of music is full of failed artists, and it’s much harder to find the money as a musician.

Good to hear these music educators are really engaging their students on both sides of hotbutton issues of the day, like Pandora royalties and free access to music.

Serona Elton: student labels are becoming more and more popular.

John Simson is developing a course on management ethics and a course on collective management of rights.

Artists House Music just got a serious shout out as a #1 resources. You can take the free Band as Business course I produced with founder John Snyder over there.

1:52pm – LPFM

Sanjay Jolly, Project Director for the awesome Prometheus Radio Project. He’s going over how corporate radio tried to kill local, low-powered radio, and how he and his coalition fought back and succeeded.

Jolly points out that radio is still the #2 broadcast medium behind television, and how vitally important it is to provide small-business, low-cost, low-power radio as a remedy for monocultural hegemony of corporate radio.

The conversation has segued to the problems of limited wireless bandwidth, and local market monopolies and duopolies by ISPs. I fall in that latter category, and the Time Warner monopoly is fairly depressing.

1:43pm – Net Neutrality

Nice to see some coverage of internet freedom to balance the Copyright Alliance propaganda of yesterday. Candace Clement of Free Speech is giving everyone a primer on net neutrality.

1:40pm – Healthy Musicians

O Positive Festival just got a shout out during the breakout session on FMC policy updates. Makes me proud to be from Kingston, NY, where the festival originated. For those unaware, the festival brings musicians and artists together with medical professionals to “trade art for music”. It’s a great way to help the musicians that fall through the gaps of health care, and will be no less important after the Affordable Care Act.

1:29pm – Policy Updates

I am in a breakout room to hear the FMC policy update. They’re giving an update on musician health insurance — they lack it at twice the national average… and that’s just counting “working” artists. Most musicians don’t have a career, though they may have another job that grants them health insurance.

What’s more discouraging is that according to an FMC survey, musicians are statistically “the most clueless” about the Affordable Care Act. Hope they tuned into the livestream of Gunn’s talk a little while ago. If not, here’s the website you need to visit: health.futureofmusic.org

1:13pm – On to the Next One

I’m not exactly sure what’s going on next… things are running late and there seems to be a lunchtime thing going on somewhere followed by breakout sessions. If I can find the panel going on now, I’ll let you know. Otherwise I should resurface at the breakout panel titled “What They DO Teach You in School: How Artists Get (& Stay) Educated”.

12:42pm – Musicians Get Health Insurance

Let’s get healthy! Anton J. Gunn Director, External Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, must be a busy guy these days, but he made time to talk to us musicians.

FMC’s Kristin Thompson is introducing him by bringing up data on how underinsured musicians are.

Gunn is giving us his personal background, and how it intersects deeply with music. “Hip hop is who I am, health care is what I do.” Had dreams to become a hip hop artist, went to high school with many accomplished musicians.

Gunn is going through a list of musicians who have suffered without health insurance. The speech has been informative for folks who aren’t familiar with the Affordable Care Act. I’m not one of them, but I encourage anyone who’s unaware to become educated, particularly if they are a musician.

Gunn is talking about how some young peoples’ rates, after subsidies, are around $100. He points out that is the price of a cell phone contract, and I’m not arguing that’s affordable, but how many young people can afford a second cellphone bill? Methinks many of them will be paying that $95 or 1% of income “shared responsibility” penalty.

12:36pm – Gentrification vs. Musicians

The conversation has gotten around to how to save space for music and the arts in cities where gentrification and real estate pressures are edging out venues and other creative spaces. Gates groups this issue in with “a lot of 1% issues” we’re currently grappling with.

Merill once again highlights the role musicians have to play to make an impact in these issues. He’s also raising great strategy points about approaching local officials to prove that music is tied to many important aspects of the community.

12:24pm – Musician Grants from Local Budgets

Moderator Bryce Merill talking about a program he started that helps connect bands with money from local arts grants. The program, IMTour, provides financial and logistical help for independent bands touring the West.

12:11pm – DJ Cavem – OG (organic gardener)

DJ Cavem is a renaissance man. After making the whole audience stand up and stretch, he says: “I’m a b-boy, so I also teach yoga.” He’s also an organic gardener that works with youth in Denver to grow and prepare their own food. He’s doing lots to bring real organic food to neighborhoods far removed from the organic retail market, and bringing healthy food to “food deserts” of urban spaces. Don’t forget, he’s also a hip hop musician.

Cavem did a TED talk recently titled “Food Justice and Hip Hop“. He just played us a hip hop video about brown rice and broccoli he made with his students. (I must be getting old because I couldn’t tell what video it referenced, but apparently it promoted crap food.)

12:02pm – Agency League of Musicians

Rebecca Gates is continuing the thread about organizing musicians around participating in and celebrating their local communities. Part of her effort is to bring musicians together to discuss how to sustain their businesses, which also includes a big local component. She’s voicing some serious reason, asking that we stop having a polarized fight over ways to monetize in the digital age and start having constructive conversations to push musicians’ prospects forward. Amen to that!

11:48am – Nonprofit Models for Supporting Independent Music

Diverse group of panelists for this presentation.

Dani Grant talking about Spokesbuzz, a really exciting organization that amplifies local music scenes. They’re currently making a big impact in Colorado.

Here’s how it works: (1) Artists pass through rigorous application process to qualify for “incubation” (2) SxSW showcase based on the Colorado music scene. (3) BandSwap, a multi-city exchange of artists. Bands get sent to eight different, like-minded cities to cross-pollenate. Org is in their second year, operating on a budget of $150K/year.

Grant’s mission? “Think globally, rock locally.”

11:32am – Frustration with the Slow Pace of Change

Jeb Gutelius talking about his work with Fun. After their hit, they said: “We have a responsibility to use this platform to do more than sell an album.” Now the band is a leading advocate for the LGBTQ community. Gutelius’s organization helps bands do good, more power to him.

Wayne Kramer is talking about his work with the Black Panther Party during the MC5 days: “We embraced violence and it was a mistake.” Talking about his experience being sent to prison as part of the War on Drugs, and how the prison population has risen from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands to millions of incarcerated citizens — 10MM under law enforcement control.

Kramer talking about running into Billy Bragg, who started Jail Guitar Doors across the pond. His organization provides instruments and musical training to those in prison. He’s got lots of data suggesting it lowers recidivism. “Only art can bring a change of heart.”

11:15am – Finding Your Passion, Writing a New Narrative

Ariana Delawari talks about visiting Afghanistan after 9/11. It was the homeland of her parents, and upon landing and seeing the mountains, her heart swelled with love. From then on, she dedicated her life to creating a documentary on the country, and eventually an album. She’s talking about working with her father and other locals to fight back against the Taliban gaining power and destroying culture. We’re watching the trailer from the documentary “We Came Home”. What strikes me is watching all the images of Afghans enjoying themselves, rocking out on tablas and guitars, is how much they contrast with the images of the Middle East we are fed by mainstream media. I can feel the sense of hope permeating the room.

She just referenced a survey that suggested 50% of Afghans returned home because they missed the music on the radio. As someone who has a native Indian friend who remains plugged into his culture’s music 24/7 (and as someone who loves music), I totally get it.

Wow, Delawari is the first artist to play rock music in Afghanistan in 30 years. She’s talking about being worried that there might be suicide bombers in the audience. This is the frontier — bringing music to the places where it is militantly suppressed and violently fought against.

11:04am – Social Justice

Stephen Brackett of Flobots dropped some serious flow before his speech. There should be a music conference of just emcees rhyming. He’s talking about his nonprofit Youth on Record. He’s telling the truly inspiring story about building his nonprofit step by step. Brackett is highlighting both the extreme challenges and the unexpected help they got along the way. He’s mentioning with disdain the trend to consider nonprofit volunteers as “saving” the kids, where really they’re giving opportunities to kids who are brilliant — they don’t need saving, they need engaging.

10:53am – Musicians in Touch with the Fringe

For the music non-profit panel, Benjamin Harbert, Assistant Professor of Music, Department of Performing Arts, Georgetown University has taken the stage to moderate.

He’s talking about how musicians are particularly in touch with the fringes of society not just because they are forward-thinking culturally, but because they’re often just as broke and marginalized as the other demographics we traditionally think of as broke and marginalized.

10:27am – Remix Culture

Josh Kun is up on stage talking about how the crossfader helped originate the remix culture that is today running in hyperspeed thanks to digital technology. He’s waking up the crowd by blasting a bunch of mashups. I think every day 2 of every conference should start with a Beatles/J Dilla mashup.

I’m going to check out some of Kun’s writing after this. The topic of his speech is something I’m acutely aware of in the digital sense, but I’d like to know more about its analog origins. We often simplify turntablism and DJ’ing as part of hip hop — which it was — but it was much bigger than that.

Kun is contrasting the crossfade to the melting pot as the soul of America. The melting pot does not distinguish differences, it erases identity and takes the shape of he who stirs the pot. Crossfading preserves differences but creates something original, retaining its identity while redefining it.

Kun is one of those intellectuals that likes to make his point by referencing disparate topics — right now he’s talking about borders, private prisons, drones, deportation… and he just said “In the Age of Trayvon” three times in a row. This is not so much a speech as it is Kun reading an article and playing some music, but it’s definitely an interesting perspective. I love how Kun applies the musical concept of crossfading to the world at large.

“What is a society if it can’t crossfade?” is the question we’re left with. The audience applauds and hoots more enthusiastically than I’d heard yesterday. Really inspiring stuff.

9:58am – Doing Rock Squats

Doing rock squats to get ready for the final day of the Future of Music Summit 2013. What’s a rock squat? It’s the motion a musician makes when they have to pick up a heavy amp to carry down a flight of stairs. Seriously, why do venues have stairs?

I’m doing calisthenics not just because all of the Georgetown students are making me feel old an out of shape. It’s been a marathon of music revelations and accusations, and I need to be at the top of my game to field the future of music.

I appreciate all the Twitter followers who came on board, and all the new readers. Thanks for the kind words.


5:43pm – Halfway Up the Summit

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow for Day 2 of the liveblog!

5:31pm – Crowdfunding Question

I got a chance to ask Christa Kende from Indiegogo how fast crowfunding was growing and what was the biggest impediment to its adoption. She said it was growing “exponentially” (I should have been more specific… Kickstarter seems to be doubling year over year, I wonder if Indiegogo is putting up similar numbers?) She also confirmed what I already knew, but bears repeating: the biggest impediment to the exponential growth of crowdfunding is educating musicians on how to manage their own business.

Emily White adds “Crowdfunding is dominant in the music industry.” She also says a fan told Pledge Music’s founder that the experience of buying albums was ruined by their experience with crowdfunding… they’ll never go back! Remember, Songhack features musician-specific reviews of the major crowdfunding platforms.

5:11pm – The Sane Panel

The musicians and music business owners on this panel are the ones in tune with the future of music. They’re the only panel that’s been wholeheartedly positive about crowdfunding and streaming. That’s the kind of sanity that’s desperately needed in an industry full of hand-wringing “things are changing so rapidly, what are we going to do?”

We can attack the solutions for not being perfect, or we can investigate the successes and learn from our mistakes. More than half the music industry (musicians included) eyes these viable sources of revenue with an evil eye. Haters ought to stop knee-jerk reactions until they can offer up a viable alternative (a new musician coalition, fighting an unwinnable war on music piracy, or some sort of raising of the rate to access music is not it).

I’m sitting on the steps waiting to ask a question.

4:38pm – AKA “The Panel Before we Start Drinking”

The last panel of the day is always a unique experience. Over half of the room usually empties out — no exception here. Everyone carries on talking about what they’re doing after this panel until the moderator basically bangs a gavel (we had a much more natural ebb toward silence, I chalk it up to the silence-savvy, musician-heavy audience).

We’re talking about “Stupor Models”… led off by a discussion of crowdfunding with pioneer Jill Sobule. She was crowdfunding back when Kickstarter was nothing but a gleam in someone’s computer code.

Indiegogo‘s Christa Kende says raising money for albums is the most popular use of the platform.

4:32pm – Holding the Money

Chris Yorks from SoundExchange talking about how his company deals with money collected from music that has no rights associated with it. Interesting that the statute allows them to redistribute any funds collected but not assigned to rights holders among all registered rights holders… but they don’t. You gotta respect that.

Griffin’s last word: the way to solve this problem is to create a system that makes it profitable to register people (like the domain registration system).

4:16pm – Opening Pandora’s Box

Mike Fink mentions that when artists drop by the office and worry out loud about royalty rates, he sits them down on a computer to show them how the money is flowing. Says that Pandora can’t “scale up” that transparency to offer it to all artists digitally, but it’s good to know they’re at least thinking about it. Last year, transparency was still a four-letter-word. It still is, but it’s now more like “shit” than “fuck”.

Jim Griffin on the codes you need attached to your musical works: ISRC, ISWC, ISNI… you Google it, I’m watching the panel.

He’s also going off about how record labels and publishers benefit from the metadata/registration crisis. He’s really hitting the nail on the head: let’s make registration profitable.

4:00pm – Prohibition of Formalities

Jim Griffin, Managing Director of One House, calling into question the Berne Convention clause that specifies registration not be a precursor to obtaining copyright.

No doubt that this treaty clause has in many ways created the rights morass. But we also have to realize the tech industry (Google Play for example) had many fewer headaches processing all this data as digital natives. The “prohibition on on formalities” as it’s know, is important because it protects songwriters from themselves. With requirement of registration for copyright, many musicians would leave their music unregistered and open to exploitation by those who have more resources to register. Griffin’s opinion should be unpopular with anyone with musicians’ rights in mind.

Normally I would not be in favor of paternalistic laws that “protect people from themselves”, but intellectual property is a unique case. For a right that is granted upon the fixation of a tangible expression, required registration would totally upend the already uneven balance between protecting artists and protecting corporate profit.

3:36pm – Metadata and Musicians

Heeeerrre we go, diving deep into the chaos of metadata that both is the future of music, and is its unraveling.

Dennis Dreith is up there now talking about the AFM & SAG-AFTRA… oh man, could there be any more alphabet soup in these rights-holding funds?

The sources of revenue Dreith is cataloguing seem neverending here too… maybe that’s the point, to make everyone feel the headache of collecting digital music royalties across multiple countries with varying laws so someone changes something.

At this time in the afternoon people are starting to flag a bit. Maybe that woman who keeps speech-blogging during the Q&A sessions will get up and do a monologue and everyone can take a nap. This is why you need a person walking around with a mic during the Q&A, so you can walk away from “that person” who invites herself onto every panel.

3:24pm – Saving Country

Quirk mentions that rejiggering the country genre page pushed it from lowest- to highest-performing genre in terms of conversions.

Anyone still doubt that discovery = sales and free access to music = most discovery opportunities? Kthx.

This guy is really smart, and I’m not just saying that because I agree with him. I mean, he works for Google, don’t take my word for it.

Totally agree with Quirk’s points regarding the impossibility of devaluing music, but you probably knew that already.

3:12pm – Pushing Up the Pyramid

Scurried from the networking space back to the auditorium to catch Tim Quirk, a big cheese at Google Play. Though I missed the beginning, it seems like he’s making the pitch for freer, fairer access to music.

“We’re not gatekeepers. We’re not tastemakers. We’re park rangers.”

Principles of Google Play discovery:

• There should be no dead ends
• Different recommendations for different people
• Context is more important than opinion

Quirk’s speech is eloquent, albeit read off printed sheets of paper. Not very Google-y.

2:57pm – Crowdfunding

Bill Thomas fielded my question on crowdfunding by delivering the standard “it won’t solve everything” like (I agree) but highlighted my point about disparaging touring and T-shirts. He points out that musicians aren’t in the T-shirt business, they’re in the “insert your name here” business.

Interesting comment from an attendee via Dilbert creator: “If you want to be successful, passion is not the way to go. You need a system.”

Now the panel is really focusing in on how being a band is being a small business. Dick Huey is dropping the wisdom: you’re not doing yourself a service by defining yourself only as an artist.

2:18pm – 20/20

Greg Kott is killing it. Musicians are not entitled to be paid. Musicians have always struggled.

So many of the panelists here are ignoring reality by making fan-pirates or the tech industry out to be the enemy. Kott seems to understand that you can’t navigate the seas of change by yelling at the waves.

Silverman: If you’re negative about the music industry, get out now, you don’t have a chance.

2:13pm – 20/20

It’s not the Justin Timberlake record, it’s the future-y Future of Music panel.

Tom Silverman of the legendary Tommy Boy Records is saying less artists break through with the internet than before. That is true of professional music careers… but not true in any other respect. More artists are getting more exposure than ever. We are in this room trying to figure out how the most people make the most money… not how professionals can hold on to the wealth that is being redistributed to smaller-scale musician businesses.

Silverman asks, if the bands filling stadiums today were pre-Internet, who fills tomorrow’s stadiums. Who cares?

2:06pm – On to the Next One

Rapp was about to finally call on me so I could share my crowdfunding success, and the idea that you have to learn how to be a manager in order to learn how to get a manager you can succeed with. He was quickly cut off for the next panel. I tried to get in there, but he was swamped and I didn’t feel like I needed to make it my personal quest to convince him he needs to pay a little bit more attention to the Internet, and stop scaring people away from doing it themselves. His lawyer friend needed a counterpoint — she likened managing a band to building a house — she said it’s okay to play Mr. or Ms. fix-it, but when you gotta build a house you gotta call in the pros. True, but we need to emphasize that everyone has to be Mr. or Ms. fix-it before they can build a house. Why not encourage people to self-manage, and develop the entrepreneurial skills required to not get ripped off when one finally attracts a manager?

1:38pm – That Damn Internet

I’m sorry, it’s time for digital natives to take the reigns from these oldsters teaching musicians how to make money the old-fashioned way. Not to disparage Rapp in any way, but this is a room full of people who grew up making music with the internet. It’s just a different mindset. The old guard can still give great advice based on experience, but in today’s music business, it’s all about creating value and creating fans in your own unique way.

1:28pm – Secure Social Media?

Rapp is starting to lose me here. One of his tips is to make sure your social media network is “secure”, but he doesn’t even mention password strength or anything that would achieve this. He also admitted to not understanding how digital distribution aggregators work, though at least he recommended CDBaby over TuneCore.

I wholly appreciate what Rapp is trying to do here, but in a room of 100 musicians I’m afraid that legal bullet-points aren’t doing much good. It’s like reading from Passman’s “Everything You Need to Know About the Music Industry” Pretty much no one is taking notes or paying a whole lot of attention. Oh man, FMC better invite me to do this workshop next year! I’ll title it, “How to Plan for a Music Career You’ll Actually Have”. All this talk about what to do when you sign to a label or management… what about being your own label and manager?

1:18pm – The Real Deal with Copyright

Rapp is admirably trying to breeze through copyright and trademark. I always wonder why people teaching bands about business start with copyright and the law. I mean, I get it, it’s where value traditionally originates in the realm of intellectual property. But it’s so dense and boring.

When I get together with Artists House Music this winter to revamp our Band as Business course, I’m going to fight like hell tie copyright to something tangible — like money. Instead of leading with the abstract actions of fixing an expression in a tangible medium and trademarking a name, why not start on a more Future of Music Coalition-centric theme of how musicians make money.

To me, copyright is best understood by musicians in conjunction with the ways they make money. You want to sell your music? Here’s what gives you the exclusive right to do that. Now, sell it yourself to get paid. You want to collect streaming royalties? Here’s how copyright does that, now register yourself as a publishing company with ASCAP to get paid. Copyright is more a means to the end of getting paid, and we’re far past the world in which it was the way musicians make money. It’s still crucial, I’m not saying ignore it, but let’s put copyright in its place.

1:04pm – Band as a Business

This talk starts with a picture of Manowar juxtaposed with a picture of Saddam Hussein DJ’ing. Paul Rapp is making the point that bands are a thing of the past, now that musicians are going DIY EDM bedroom style.

Phrase “sad reality of today’s music business” makes its appearance, I don’t think it will be the last time.

Rapp mentions my email to him about copyright being less where it’s at, and crowdfunding being the new thing. He’s diplomatic and I have to agree with him: when musicians don’t even know about copyright, they’re missing a huge chunk of value.

I can tell this is going to be pretty basic, but I want to see how he breaks it down.

12:14pm – Inspiration

I love Erin McKeown’s perspective on being a musician. Very inspiring. A sandwich would also be inspiring right now and I want to catch this Band as a Business workshop and my laptop is making weird bubbling noises even though the sound is off.

12:07pm – Peter Jenner

Finally someone who’s dropping wisdom. Artists have always struggled. Make it easier to pay, even if fans don’t realize they’re paying.

“Anyone who thinks they can control the internet is up their ass.”

Jenner is encouraging collective action. He’s recommending we value all music equally. He’s the man!

11:57am – That Person

So, we’ve officially found our “that person”, who’s already been up to the mic twice editorializing about her mission.

Thankfully, someone just stood up and pointed out that so-called “piracy” actually sells records, and is why Kid A debuted at #1. Got a quick dismissal by the Gibbs who says content creators should be paid. Yeah, but everyone’s a content creator now!

11:51am – “Free Doesn’t Pay the Rent”

Some dude named Count is up on stage showing a trailer for a documentary (Unsound) that has lots of bellyaching about how there is no middle class of musician anymore. It’s got all the usual faces like David Lowery.

It seems to blame the suffering of musicians on fans thinking the value of music is zero.

Why do musicians keep feeding themselves this lie?

I really wanted to get up there and ask a question but Count rambled on about some sort of web platform that aligns musicians together to vote on pursuing issues… sounds like a dead end but more power to him if he wants to organize musicians in political action!

Count calls Kickstarter a “myth”… tell that to the tens of thousands of musicians who have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Here’s the problem with the idea of music being “devalued” — it’s just not true. The value of music is being redistributed from a handful of professionals to the public at large.

Melvin Gibbs now is talking about how certain artists are singular, special snowflakes. Sure, there are the greats, but everyone has the potential to be great.

11:25am – Copyright Alliance Toes the Line

Sandra Aistars from the Copyright Alliance is demonstrating the copyright industry’s continued lack of awareness that there’s nothing they can do to “convince” global culture to regress to a world of gated media.

LOL: she pointed out she talked to “grassroots” members of the Copyright Alliance. Here are the members… was it like a janitor at Disney who plays guitar on the weekend or something?

11:02am – Copyright Conclusion

Judging by the applause, this is a pro-copyright room. Not surprising given most of the careers in the room probably are based on exploiting others’ rights, or having one’s rights exploited. Hopefully over the next two days we’ll be able to talk about the fans and the non-professional musicians, who have pros outnumbered and aren’t going to be litigated or legislated away. Sharing music is not stealing.

10:35am – Copyright: Just as Boring as You Feared

Copyright doesn’t have to be boring, but this panel is doing their best!

Waiting for the Q&A on the panel featuring Shira Pearlmutter Chief Policy Officer and Director of International Affairs, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
 and Jacqueline Charlesworth Appointed General Counsel & Associate Register, U.S. Copyright Office. Pearlmutter is reading off a memo that boils down to, “We don’t want SOPA/PIPA again, so we’re going through the motions of getting public comments before handing copyright back over for corporate control.” Forgive me for being a pessimist, but Mickey Mouse keeps dodging the public domain.

I mean, I really think the government means well, but we’d like to see artists get a bit more business-savvy and hold on to their rights.

Charlesworth is getting philosophical about the foundational concepts of copyright, she doesn’t see the tension between the First Amendment and copyright, which is crazy. Perpetual copyright terms kill the public domain for corporate profit, stifling the reuse of culture that creativity has been based on for eons. No de minimis rule or fair use for sampling chills creativity and free speech.

10:20am – OK, We’re on the “Music Can’t be Devalued” Side

One late red-top taxi after a 5-hour early-morning drive to DC and I walked the labyrinthian path to the Lohrfink Auditorium. Made it to the Future of Music Summit. By the way, it’s streaming live if you can’t be here!

I’m familiar with the Future of Music Coalition’s Artist Revenue Streams project, so missing half of the first panel was not a big deal. They keep releasing “data briefs” which are snapshots of the mountain of data. I wish they would just open-source the data but I guess they spent years working on this and want to maintain control over the value of this research? I will have to ask someone on the FMC staff why that is. Nonetheless, the data shows a pretty even balance between those who think digital age music does or does not devalue music. Oh, that’s why I’ve been engaged in a bitter polemical dispute with old-school professional musicians for all these years! 😉

Seriously, asking “is music devalued?” is a ridiculous and unproductive focus. We should instead be asking, “what is the value of music?” and answering with more than just dollar amounts.