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Remarks at the California Copyright Conference #irespectmusic Grassroots Advocacy Panel with Adam Dorn, Karoline Kramer Gould, David Lowery and Blake Morgan

February 10, 2016 Leave a comment


What a great way to start Grammy Week!  Last night Adam Dorn, Karoline Kramer Gould, David Lowery and Blake Morgan came together to tell their personal stories and they let me moderate.  Each of them has an inspiring story of how they came to their personal epiphany, their inspiration to turn to advocacy as part of their lives.

And in case it wasn’t clear–we were recruiting!  Follow them on Twitter through the ‪#‎irespectmusic‬ and @theblakemorgan, @radioclevekkg @davidclowery @moceanworker and @musictechpolicy.

The following are my introductory remarks to the panel:

Successful advocacy sits on a three legged stool whether we like it or not—lobbyists, campaign contributions and individual action.  The music industry and the larger entertainment industry has largely failed to achieve successful advocacy.  We still have essentially the same problems today that we had 15 years ago and the industry is at least half its former size.  In case you haven’t noticed, the cavalry is not coming.

Why?  At the end of the day, until politicians think they may get unelected if they don’t listen, they’ll smile, take our money and our votes, and do nothing.

There is one leg of the stool that we have some control over—individual action.  Any of us have the ability to take action and stand up rather than wait for some miracle from Washington.  That action can range from a Tweet to putting our jobs on the line—and since our jobs are on the line anyway, we may as well tweet about it.  And until we can deliver bodies at the polling place no one will fear getting unelected.

You’re going to have a lot of people asking for your vote in the next few months.  They’re not shy about asking you for money and your vote, so you need not be shy about asking how they are going to vote on your issues.  If that sounds aggressive, it is.  In the long run, we may get a fair and just revision of the Copyright Act, but as the economists say, in the long run we’re all dead.  The NAB has outlived generations of artists and songwriters and Google is learning from their example.

All of our speakers tonight have had this epiphany in one form or another and all of their stories are inspiring examples of individual action. Blake Morgan took on Pandora and Big Radio and founded the #irespectmusic campaign. Karoline Kramer Gould joined Blake in supporting the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act and became an inspiration to all of us. Adam Dorn started SONA out of spontaneous meetings with songwriters who were confounded by the state of the industry. And David Lowery started writing the Trichordist blog as a cathartic blog that has inspired thousands and is widely read.

As far as the moderator is concerned, my own epiphany in starting the MusicTechPolicy blog 10 years ago was largely the same—why is the news all bad and why isn’t the market producing an outlet for truth.

The #irespectmusic campaign grew out of Blake Morgan’s personal advocacy and opposition to Pandora’s Internet Radio Fairness Act. His viral posts on the Huffington Post about IRFA and what he perceived as Pandora’s deceptive PR tactics trying to enlist artist support against their own interest led directly to his advocacy in support of a performance royalty for terrestrial radio.

After IRFA failed to pass, Blake started an online petition to support a terrestrial radio royalty—and issue campaign as opposed to a particular piece of legislation. The petition has had over 13,000 signatures so far from music makers and music lovers. That made it easy to attach the #irespectmusic hashtag to the Fair Play, Fair Pay act when it was introduced by Blake’s Congressman, Jerry Nadler.

While the #irespectmusic campaign started with artist pay for radio play, it soon evolved into a campaign for fair treatment for all creators. This lead in turn to his recent lobbying trip to the Senate supporting the Songwriter Equity Act and an alliance with the NMPA.

Adam, Blake, David and Karoline all have inspired each other to continue in their individual advocacy and we hope can inspire you, too.


TONIGHT! California Copyright Conference Panel on #irespectmusic

February 8, 2016 Leave a comment

The California Copyright Conference will be hosting a panel entitled “The I Respect Music Campaign and the New Grassroots Artist Rights Advocacy” on February 9 from 6-9:30ish at the Sportsman’s Lodge in Los Angeles.  We will be having a wonderful group of panelists in Adam Dorn pka Mocean Worker, Karoline Kramer-Gould, David Lowery and Blake Morgan.

CCC Members and College Students $45 per person | Non-members $55 per person
Students must show College ID at the door, if paying at the member rate

Click here for details and reservations!

The I Respect Music Campaign and the New Grassroots Artist Rights Advocacy

Blake Morgan founded the #irespectmusic campaign to support fair treatment for creators, starting with over 13,000 signers of a petition calling on Congress to support artist pay for radio play.   After Reps. Jerry Nadler and Marsha Blackburn introduced the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act, #irespectmusic supporter and radio programmer Karoline Kramer-Gould co-signed a letter to Chairman Bob Goodlatte supporting Fair Play, Fair Pay, the only radio worker to take a public position contrary to the National Association of Broadcasters.

#irespectmusic has also embraced support for the Songwriter Equity Act through a partnership with the National Music Publishers Association. David Israelite, NMPA’s CEO, referred to #irespectmusic as the largest spontaneous grassroots movement in American music history.

The panel will discuss the importance of artist rights advocacy at the grassroots level, citizen engagement and lessons learned from the #irespectmusic campaign.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
6:15 PM Check-In ● 6:30 PM Cocktails ● 7:00 PM Dinner

12833 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604 (Coldwater Canyon & Ventura Blvd)


Chris Castle, Founder, Christian L. Castle, Attorneys, Austin.  Editor of MusicTechPolicy and contributor to Huffington Post.


Adam Dorn, aka Mocean Worker is a recording artist, film/tv composer and music publisher. He’s a member of the SONA Board (Songwriters Of North America) who’s very passionate about songwriters rights

Karoline Kramer-Gould, radio programmer & music lover, Cleveland OH

David Lowery, co-founder of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, writer of The Trichordist and lecturer at Terry School of Business, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Blake Morgan, singer-songwriter, producer and owner, ECR Music Group, New York, NY

…and special guests!

#newmusic Weekend: Merely a matter of coffee

February 6, 2016 Leave a comment
  1. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith (San Francisco) “Ears”
  2. Lincoln Durham (Austin) “Creeper”
  3. The Men (Brooklyn) “Electric”
  4. Ava Luna (New York) “Steve Polyester”
  5. Catholic Action (Glasgow) “L.U.V.”

They’re Baaaack: Who’s Zooming Who in the U.S. Presidential Primaries

February 5, 2016 Leave a comment

Money is the mother’s milk of politics.

Jesse “Big Daddy” Unruh, California State Treasurer 1975-87

Yes…it’s that time again.  The U.S. Presidential campaigns are underway, aren’t you glad?

In case you were wondering why not a single Presidential candidate ever addresses any of our issues, let’s take a look at who’s given money to the candidates so far courtesy of Open Secrets.  We’ll check back periodically.

If any of them ask you for money or your vote, be sure to ask them for their position on the Songwriters Equity Act and the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act (especially the sitting senators).  You might also ask them why they don’t include Silicon Valley in the list of villains alongside “Wall Street” and “the banks” and “the drug companies”.

We’ll focus on the top finishers in the Iowa caucuses and the top 10 donors to each, although you can drill down further if you like on the Open Secrets site.  All of the donor totals include contributions grouped by contributor to the candidate’s campaign committee plus any super PACs or hybrid PACs working on his or her behalf.

Senator Bernie Sanders

“Alphabet, Inc.” is the new name for Google, kind of like “iHeart” is the new name for Clear Channel.  Maybe Google will give Bernie a tour of Moffett Field.

sanders money 2-5-16

Hillary Clinton

clinton money 2-5-16

Senator Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz was a lobbyist for Google while in private practice.

cruz money 2-5-16

Donald Trump

trump money 2-5-16

Marco Rubio

rubio money 2-5-16

The .00005¢ Handshake: More Reasons Why No Talent Buyer Cares About Streaming

February 5, 2016 Leave a comment

Streaming services like Pandora and Spotify try to get artists to believe that their various artist data programs can have an affect on touring as in if you have activity in a particular location you’ll be able to tour there.  YouTube also brays about number of views, etc.  Of course the streaming boosters in the press accept this uncritically.  Anyone who’s ever booked a gig–as in successfully booked a gig–will know how this goes.  You’ll be lucky to get laughed at, because that would mean that you at least got the booker on the phone. Once.

If you ever believed this bunk, Digital Music News has a post that should make you go home and reconsider your life and demonstrates the fundamental reason why a talent buyer is never going to believe that streams matter absent a lot of other confirmation.  And, of course, if they have that other confirmation, they don’t care about the streaming.

Why?  Butts in seats, baby, butts in seats.

As Paul Resnikoff shows in How Much for 1,000 Spotify Plays? Just $5…, it’s all for sale and to one degree or another, the streaming services surely are aware of the problem–since it’s advertised on Craig’s List according to DMN:

But when it comes to inflated play counts in music, almost everything is now in play, including Spotify.  In fact, Spotify seems to be an increasingly important menu item alongside the usual social media culprits.


Spotify Plays for Sale

This appeared on Craigslist this week in Los Angeles (and probably other cities as well).  But $34.95?  That is downright exorbitant compared to some alternatives, including Streamify, which offers artists 1,000 plays over a three-day span for just $5. 


@theblakemorgan Looking For #irespectmusic Results from Government

January 31, 2016 Leave a comment

Blake Shumer

Blake Morgan took the #irespectmusic campaign to Capitol Hill again last week, this time in support of the Songwriter Equity Act (bill numbers HR 1283 and S662) with staff in the U.S. Senate.  His meetings included his own New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirstin Gellibrand.


Blake Gillibrand

One of the cornerstone principles of the #irespectmusic campaign is to support the ideal of fair treatment for all creators and is not limited to specific legislation.  Here’s an example.  Principle: Artist pay for radio play.  Bill: Fair Play, Fair Pay.  Principle:  Songwriters should be fairly compensated.  Bill: Songwriter Equity Act.

Blake Leahy

Blake’s trip to Washington coincided with the second anniversary of the #irespectmusic petition.  The movement is now in its second session of Congress–it started in the second year of the last session (the 113th) and is now working on the current session of Congress (the 114th).

mikulski blake



Blake wrote this insightful post that we got permission to reprint on MTP:

If I honestly share what I’m hearing in these closed-door policy meetings I’m having with Senate offices, it’s a loud and clear, consistent theme: the grassroots component we’ve all added over the last two years is not the most important thing that will win the fight for American Music’s future.

It is––in fact––the only thing that will do it.

I can’t tell you how many times over the last two days I’ve been told, “Keep doing what you’re doing because as the volume and pressure grows out there, it grows in here. As people step up and speak out more across the country, the people here on the Hill do the same. Look at where this is all at now, compared to just a year ago.”

So here’s my promise. I’m not doubling down.

I’m all in.

Thank you Senators Gillibrand, Leahy, Coons, Mikulski, and their staffs, for meeting with me, for listening, and for having such a productive and honest dialogue with me. This grateful songwriter and music maker hears you too. Loud and clear.


blake coons


#newmusic Weekend: More Water in the Glass

January 30, 2016 Leave a comment


  1.  Dirty Dozen Brass Band with Robert Randolph (New Orleans), “Cissy Strut” (Medicated Magic LP)
  2. Cilantro Boombox (Austin) “De Carora a South Congress”
  3. Doe Paoro (Brooklyn) “After”
  4. Teen Commandments (Williamsburg) “Balance”
  5. Shakey Graves with Shovels & Rope (Austin) “Unknown Legend”

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