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The Future of Music

Posted by Jer / October 12, 2006

One of the main aims of the Future of Music Coalition is the noble goal of creating a musicians' middle class. There's lots of money in the music biz but sadly, most of it doesn't go to those actually making the music. There are a few superstars raking it in, and there's plenty of artists at the bottom end of the scale but should'nt it be feasible to create an industry where musicians can actually afford to make a living by making music? Treating new technologies as a catalyst, the FMC takes on this cause by educating media, policymakers, and the public about music/technology issues.

I was too busy last week covering the music of Pop Montreal to post about the FMC Policy Summit at McGill that ran in conjunction with the festival (plus how sexy is "policy summit" compared to Torngat or an iPod battle?). Now that the dust has settled and my ears have stopped ringing, a brief recap is in order for those who missed the conference.

They two key issues of the three day event were set from the opening session (State of the Nation): The internet is changing everything we know about music and how can businesses profit from these changes. Although the conference mixes musicians and industry folks, panels seemed more geared towards the latter with questions about profit and new business models dominating discussions.

A hilariously meandering yet surface presentation from David Byrne, and an interesting session with local young musicians helped provide a bit of a balance. There were also discussions on the new deciders (i.e. pitchforkers, bloggers podcasters, etc...) and mini-media featuring the likes of Grant Lawrence, Patti Schmidt, Carl Wilson and Helen Spitzer. Unfortunately, these panels, while insightful as to the personal experience of those involved, seemed to shy away from bigger questions about the social and cultural impacts of the digital music environment. Questions I think the FMC needs to answer in conjunction with the practical aspects of coming up with new digital distribution models.

The FMC is an incredibly important organization, and despite my slight reservations, the summit plays an important role in educating musicians and bringing artists and industry players together. On the summit's closing day, Harvard Professor and insanely bright guy, William Terry Fisher, presented a system for distributing audio and video recordings, unencumbered by technological protection measures, that results in minimal user fees yet compensates creators in proportion to how much their products are listened to or watched. It's the kind of model that recognizes just how broke the music industry currently is. My only hope is that as he, and others, move forward with new models, the future of music is considered, not just the future of the music business.

Discussion

7 Comments

Jeremy / February 4, 2015 at 12:50 am
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