Sunday, October 7, 2012

Digging deeper: media regulation

As music and technology have continue to become more interrelated, the Future of Music Coalition was created in order to protect a diverse musical culture that is fair for musicians as well as fans. It is a nonprofit group that was created in 2000 by a group of "musicians, artist advocates, technologists, and legal experts"with the emergence of peer-to-peer file sharing websites such as Napster and Limewire and the legal issues that followed the increase in popularity of these websites. Websites that have allowed internet users to download music for free and without consequence has resulted in a decrease in artists' sales and therefore have damaged musicians' livelihoods. This was the primary motivating factor for creating the FMC but since 2000, as difference forms of finding music has changed, it has expanded its goals to encompass a general voice for musicians in the issues they experience in our media-driven world. One of the main goals of the FMC has been to influence policy debates in a way that benefits individual musicians and the music industry as a whole, opposing large corporate media and the effect of lobby groups and business interests on policy decisions and as a result, "reflecting the interests of all stakeholders, and not just the powerful few." Some of these policies and issues are related to radio, internet and telecommunication, artist engagement, copyright, and artist compensation. The FMC has proved to be an effective voice for musicians by organizing events, submitting testimony,  distilling and translating information for musicians, keeping artists informed about the changing music landscape, and generating original research.
         Protecting musicians and their livelihood is a integral part of the industry because at the end of the day, the individual is what creates the whole industry. If musicians are not happy, it will effect the entire framework of the industry. For example, if an artist knows his music will be posted on the internet for free and he will receive no compensation for his work, he may in turn be reluctant to introduce new music to the mass public. However, if they are not releasing new music, a musician may lose fans and popularity, I think the FMC does a good job of stepping in and working as a mediator between musicians and forms of technology like the internet and the radio to make sure both sides are relatively happy. I think that although illegal forms of downloading music has not decreased nor will it ever stop, websites like Pandora, Soundcloud and 8tracks have been created as a way for artists to promote their music in a beneficial way. I consider, in particular, an ideal media outlet for artists as it allows musicians to choose whether they want a song to be available for public download or not. As ways of listening to music for free has expanded along with the increase of technology, the FMC has been essential and beneficial in fighting for musicians, through related public policies, given the availability of free music online.

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