The 12th annual Future of Music Summit will commence on Monday, Oct. 28 in Washington, D.C. through a partnership between the Future of Music Coalition (FMC) and Georgetown University.
With Washington as the backdrop, the summit uniquely blends the voices of legislators, legal experts and academics with musicians, industry professions and fans.
“One of the reasons that we’ve always done this is because there is no five-point plan to fix the music industry,” said Interim Director of FMC Casey Rae in a conversation with Billboard.biz. “If someone was going to tell you we’ve got the answers, they’re probably full of it.”
After twelve conferences, Rae says “it would be very easy for us to say ‘OK, we know all the smart people we need to assemble, let’s throw them on a panel and let them have at it.’” However, Rae adds, the focus of the summit is on education and collaboration rather then debate and they strive to create unique programing each year.
This year’s diverse selection of speakers include FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, Google’s Head of Global Content Programming Tim Quirk, Founder & Executive Director of New Music Seminar Tom Silverman, Co-founder or Thirty Tigers Management David Macias, host of All Songs Considered Bob Boilen, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s Alec Ounsworth, journalist and editor Maura Johnston and many others. The full list of speakers is available at the FMC website.
Last year’s summit was a one day event following the introduction of the Internet Radio Fairness Act and at the height of the debate surrounding it, featuring presentations from Tim Westergren and Senator Ron Wyden.
This year the summit returns to its usual two-day format and home on Georgetown’s campus. As congress is in the process of its first review of copyright laws since 1976, one panel will discuss proposed updates to adapt these laws to modern digital distribution and publishing. Also, as musician’s criticism of the streaming music business model reaches a fever pitch, one panel will discuss these debates and the issues surrounding various models.
“The folks who are trying to make a living and get by are facing challenges in terms of coming up with the right portfolio of revenue generators that can allow them to do what they really want to do — which is record and perform music,” says Rae.
Some program highlights include U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services Director of External Affairs Aton Gunn’s keynote on the Affordable Care Act and its relevance to musicians, “License To Thrive” a panel on direct licensing, compulsories and artist compensation for radio play, and a special screening of The Internet Must Go, a documentary on the importance of protecting an open internet.
“We don’t just get all super wonky — we like to have fun too,” says Rae. This year’s summit will close on Tuesday night with an NPR All Songs Considered live listening party.
The FMC began is a national non-profit that has been examining the intersection of technology, law and policy through the lens of research, education and advocacy since 2000.
Walk-up registration will be available at the conference for $299 or $149 day rates. For those not in attendance, the conference will be live-streamed online.