Musicians focus on web-based future

0 featured an essay from Future of Music Coalition’s Interim Executive Director Jean Cook, who noted that musicians across the globe are taking matters into their own hands and using the internet to manage their careers – bypassing middlemen and gatekeepers. The main thing musicians need going forward? Network neutrality.

Cook mentioned the importance of radio to musicians, and then didn’t make another peep about the medium.

“Today’s artists are using the open Internet to connect with audiences and advance their careers on their own terms,” she wrote. “Musicians are collaborating, selling merchandise, booking tours and building fan bases via the Web.”

She then went on to detail numerous specific instances of how musicians use the internet to succeed – none of which involved record companies.

She added, “These days, there are far fewer middlemen or gatekeepers that are holding artists back or imposing conditions on them in exchange for access to listeners.”

However, she noted how AT&T had exclusive control of a Lollapalooza online webcast, and used its power as gatekeeper to delete political comments made by one of the performers. Cook said that there should be no filter of any kind between the artist and the audience, and that it certainly shouldn’t come from an ISP.

Incidentally, Cook noted that net neutrality is meant to offer protection for legal content and in no way should be seen as an impediment to going after content piracy. “In fact,’ she explained, “Net Neutrality is critical to the emergence of legal, licensed services as an alternative to piracy. In our quest to ensure proper compensation for creators, we must be careful not to compromise what makes the Internet such an incredible platform for innovation, expression and entrepreneurship.”

Cook’s only mention of radio came in these sentences: “FMC works to ensure that artists are able to develop audiences through platforms like radio and the Internet. We also care deeply about developing appropriate compensation structures for artists as we continue this rocky transition to a largely digital environment for music.

Click here to read the essay.

RBR-TVBR observation: FMC is looking out for the well-being of musicians. We find it refreshing that at least in this instance, it is not looking for a hand-out from radio or anybody else, but instead is asking to simply preserve the freedom of musicians to succeed, using the capabilities of the internet.