Scenes From Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit

posted by Tom Moon on October 08, 2009 at 8:15 pm
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Scenes from the Future of Music Coalition’s Policy Summit, which was held earlier this week at Georgetown University:

* Lots of talk about Net Neutrality. Keynotes from Sen. Al Franken and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski are gettable here.

  *  Ian McKaye, of Dischord Records and Fugazi fame, talking about how he’s resisted using the computer as a recording studio: He’s out to capture inspiration, not learn a bunch of complex software.

* Peter Jenner, a veteran artist manager, observed the absurdly twisted relationship between artists and radio. In a followup discussion on the WFMU blog , he framed the conversation in stark terms, noting that without recorded music, there’s no modern radio. “We need each other, yet we do not get paid, and even pay sometimes for radio to play the very thing that gives them the audience they then sell to advertisers (or funders).”

* Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune talking about sobering stats on recorded music sales in 2008. That year, more than 115,000 albums were released. Only 110 (!) sold more than 250,000 copies, a mere 1,500 topped 10,000 sales, and fewer than 6,000 cracked the 1,000 barrier. That’s physical CDs, not downloads. Astonishing.

* For me, the most dismaying moment wasn't the Future of Music Journalism panel, where myself, Kot and a few other self-described "dinosaurs" talked about the old-school values that underpin good criticism -- like context, analysis, plain old curiosity -- and how they've gone missing from the Internet discourse of music and really all the arts. No, the low point for me came on the Artist’s panel, when Martin Perna, of the Brookyn Afrobeat band Antibalas talked about the difficulties he had lining up management for a side project, Ocote Soul Sounds. It seems a prospective manager looked at the band’s MySpace page and got cold feet because the group had “only” 72,000 visitors.

You know things are royally screwed up when traffic on a MySpace page is regarded as a reliable measure of artistic merit and/or potential.

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#1 from Toner Quinn - 10/09/2009 7:16

Dear Tom, I read the report on the discussion on music journalism on as well as your blog. We launched a new bimonthly (print and online) music magazine in April with the objective of publishing the kind of criticism you are talking about. If you would like to receive a copy, please email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Please visit our website:
Toner Quinn
Editor, The Journal of Music

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