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Future of Music Coalition
By Margee Fagelson
(more articles from this author)
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"No longer will corporate media and big money frame the terms of the discussion as we draw together the strongest voices in the Internet and independent music community to reframe these questions with a clear-eyed focus on the interests of the artists."

There's a new game in town and they're called the Future of Music Coalition and they have scheduled a two-day policy conference in Washington, DC for January 10-11, 2001. Let's get one thing perfectly clear…they are not the anti-RIAA and they are not against the major labels. Merely, they are trying to band together to give voice to those who cannot be represented by the RIAA and therefore the major labels. The Future of Music Coalition hopes to be there (in DC and in policy-makers' faces) to represent the little guys.

What's it all about?

It is our goal to bring many of the best and the brightest people working in music and technology to Washington to discuss the most critical music/tech issues impacting our community. It is our belief that by creating an event such as this one we might help our elected officials and policy makers have a more sophisticated understanding of the opportunities and effects of these new technologies.

What's gonna happen?

January 10, 2001: The first day of the conference, "Music/Tech 101," will be about the nuts and bolts of music and technology. Think of it as a "best of" consolidation of many of the other music/technology conferences you may have attended. January 11, 2001: The second day of the conference, "Looking to the Future of Music," will be forward-looking and visionary as we attempt to address broader questions including: the future of copyright, intellectual property, and past and future legislation and regulation.

Who else is going?

Just a few of the confirmed panelists:
Steve Albini, Shellac/Electrical
Chris Amenita, ASCAP
John Perry Barlow, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Lester Chambers, Chambers Brothers
Leonardo Chiariglion, SDMI
Ted Cohen, EMI
Richard Conlon, BMI
Nick Currie aka Momus, Musician
Randy Frisch, Manager
Ron Gertz President,
Robin Gross, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Herbie Hancock, Musician
Kristin Hersh, Musician
Giovanna Imbessi, Tuttomedia / The Pho Debates
Bill Ivey Chair, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
Mark Kates, Grand Royal Records
John Parres, AudioTrack / formerly of Artist Management Group and Lynx Technology Group
Marybeth Peters, U.S. Copyright Office
Jon Potter Executive Director, DiMA
Tim Quirk,
Michael Robertson CEO,
Hillary Rosen President, RIAA
Jay Rosenthal, Recording Artist Coalition
Noah Stone, Gold Mountain / Artists Against Piracy

What can they speak about?

* Artists who have suffered and thrived under the previous business models and artists who are using new technology to their advantage;

* Members of the major label industry as well as respected artists and label owners from the independent music community and the online music community;

* Publishing and copyright experts from all the proper venues (ASCAP, BMI, Harry Fox and the Copyright Office);

* A broad representation of programmers and technologists including CEOs of the most exciting music/tech firms; and

* Established champions of artists' and programmers' rights -- e.g., the EFF, the NEA, the Smithsonian.

Who is the Coalition?

Right now, it is comprised of the following people who have given up their time (and often their fulltime jobs) to organize this conference in the hopes that it can make a difference in the way artists and small labels are treated in the music industry. They are:

Jenny Toomey
Jenny is an activist and a musician. From 1990 to 1998, she co-ran Simple Machines, an independent record label. She is a member of the board of The Low Power Radio Coalition. Having performed in several bands including Tsunami, and having written extensively about music and internet technology at, she has a broad understanding of issues facing independent musicians and a deep commitment to their interests. Jenny is also an active public speaker, representing the Future of Music or Low Power Radio in such publications as Digital Music Weekly, WiredNews, CNET, and Salon. She is co-author of The Mechanic's Guide to Putting Out Records.

Michael Bracy
Michael Bracy is an associate with Bracy Williams & Company develops and executes new media strategies for Bracy Williams & Company clients. In addition, Mr. Bracy focuses on telecommunications issues for the firm. He is Executive Director of the Low Power Radio Coalition, and a partner with the independent record label Misra. Between 1990 and 1997, he produced distance education courses, videotapes and multimedia titles for RXL Pulitzer, an educational communications firm based in Seattle. Mr. Bracy's experience includes helping launch Washington state's innovative public videotelecommunications resource, Washington Interactive Technologies. He recently won two national awards for video production and produced an educational CD-ROM recognized as one of the best 100 titles on the market. He has experience writing print and other marketing collateral and has managed nationwide marketing campaigns and product roll-outs.

Walter F. McDonough
Mr. McDonough practices entertainment, technology, and Internet law and specializes in the licensing of intellectual property. He is the current co-chair of the Boston Bar Association's Arts and Entertainment Committee. Mr. McDonough was an associate at Codikow, Carroll Guido & Groffman in New York City, one of America's leading music law firms; a former assistant Massachusetts Attorney General; and a law clerk for the Honorable Edward F. Harrington of the United States Court for the District of Massachusetts. As the FMC's Business and Legal Affairs Director, Walter submitted testimony to the Unites States Copyright Office and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, United States Department of Commerce regarding the hearings on the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, sec. 104 evaluation of impact of copyright law and amendments on electronic commerce and technological development.

Brian Zisk
Brian was Director of Business Development at iCAST, CMGI's comprehensive personal multimedia entertainment site. Prior to iCAST, he was a cofounder of the leader and pioneer in Open Source Streaming Media, The Green Witch Internet Radio, which was acquired by CMGI in 2000. Brian publishes San FranZiskGo!, the popular Bay Area events destination site and newsletter. Brian hosts The Well's San Francisco and Tickets conferences, and was a founder of The River online conferencing system. Zisk has been called a ‘serial entrepreneur' and sits on the advisory boards of some of the most exciting new technology companies coming to the fore.

Kristin Thomson
Ms. Thomson co-ran the independent record label, Simple Machines, with Jenny Toomey from 1990 to 1998 and was also member of the band Tsunami. She is now a full-time graduate student in Urban Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Delaware, where she concentrates on program evaluation and citizen participation in the democratic process. She also writes for The Machine at where she combines her interest in music/tech with her practical experience as a label owner to provide current-issue research to support and inform the independent music community. A long-time music lover, long-term musician and former entrepreneur, she is co-author of The Mechanic's Guide to Putting Out Records.

Peter DiCola
Peter DiCola is a graduate student in economics and law at the University of Michigan pursuing a Ph.D. and a J.D. Prior to his current studies, he spent a year booking independent rock and jazz musicians at the Terrace Club in Princeton, NJ. He also worked for two years in the fields of organizational design and statistical survey research at Mercer Management Consulting. Right now, he's studying frantically for final exams.

These people, and lots of helper elves behind the scenes, are working to make this conference happen. The coalition is nonpartisan. They are just the unselfish ones who have heard the call from musicians and small labels everywhere. Up til now, everyone's complained but no one wanted to make the effort to do anything. These are the people willing to help. Mark your calenders and stay tuned for more!

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