Interview w/ Michael Bracy, Future of Music Coalition
[Margee] In your own words could you tell me what FMC means to you?
[Michael] My particular role in the Future of Music Coalition is to focus on how to make our Coalition a success in Washington, DC - meaning how can we be most effective in articulating the hopes and concerns of indie artists in a way that policy-makers in DC can get their arms around the issues. In our political system, money can buy access, but information can lead to access as well.
While we will never be able to compete with the financial muscle of the majors or the huge technology companies, becoming known as a credible, independent and objective source of information about how policy decisions can and will impact artists will do wonders for making sure artists are not left out of this debate.
[Margee] Would you like to elaborate on LPFM at all, as it relates to this?
[Michael] For the past several years, Jenny Toomey and I have been deeply engaged
in the fight to create a new class of legal, community based Low Power FM radio stations. While the broadcast lobby has done everything they can to eliminate the program, we will still see about 800 stations nationwide – unfortunately not in any urban markets, however. The fight is very instructive for those who follow music tech issues, as there is good news and bad. The good news is that many in Washington truly want to support the artist - and demonstrated
a willingness to take on a powerful lobby like the NAB [National Association of Broadcasters] to do so. The bad news is that the NAB still has a core group of supporters who seem willing to roll over for their particular need. I believe this basic dynamic could be repeated on the music-tech front -- there are interesting opportunities to build non-partisan coalitions but there is always a tendency for congress to
play ball with big industry.
[Margee] What do you hope the coalition will accomplish: politically, professionally...
[Michael] We spent a great deal of time thinking about the best way to structure the coalition, and we finally settled on becoming a proper 5013(c) not-for-profit think tank. This basically means that we are not actively pushing a legislative agenda - rather we are an objective source of information and resources that can help inform a legislative agenda. We feel the conference is a perfect example of what we will bring to the table here in DC - we are certainly well known for having strong opinions on a number of topics (SoundExchange and SDMI, to name two), but we are more than happy to offer a full opportunity for all sides of the debate to air their perspectives publicly. So, basically, our attitude is "we have strong opinions, but go ahead and prove us wrong." This attitude will give us credibility in DC, and we hope that legislators and the administration will feel free to ask our opinion as they weigh different policy options.
[Margee] What do you hope the conference will accomplish?
[Michael] We hope the conference will provide a basic crash-course on many of the issues up for grabs in 2001. While it is of course impossible to cover all issues in the depth they deserve -- or hear from all the people who should be heard from -- in a two-day conference, we feel we've done a pretty good job of hitting the high points. Hopefully, the conference will grow into an annual event that will set the stage for the upcoming year's policy decisions.
[Margee] What are you most looking forward to, regarding the conference?
[Michael] Meeting all of the great people who are coming into town for the event- particularly all of the pho stalwarts.
FMC - www.futureofmusic.org
NAB - www.nab.org
SDMI - www.sdmi.com
SoundExchange - www.soundexchange.com
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