Tuesday, April 26, 2011

ReThinkMusic brings together Harvard, Berklee, Music Industry Giants

by Sarah Cortes - ReThinkMusic brought together music industry giants with recording artists, Harvard Law faculty from the Berkman Center for Internet & Technology, the ranking House Judiciary Committee member and thousands of attendees yesterday and today at Harvard University and the Hynes Convention Center.

ReThinkMusic's website describing Artist Damian Kulash, whose perspective and experience sum up what's happenning in the music industry today:

"Most people know Damian Kulash of OK Go from the band's videos that have accumulated hundreds of millions of online views. OK Go is more than those videos, of course. Their new album, Of the Blue Colour of the Sky, debuted in the Billboard Top 40, got to #2 on the iTunes alternative chart, and has yielded two Top 40 alternative singles. Alternative Press wrote that it "fills you with hope for the next decade's musical offerings." At the peak of its success, the band managed to weasel out of their major label contract to start their own company, Paracadute. Damian explained, "The major label world was not a very good fit for us anymore, because they judge the world solely through record sales and have a hard time dealing with more modern types of success. We see it as our job to make cool shit, and what metric people use for success is kind of irrelevant, so long as we get to keep chasing down our ideas.' "

Bertis Downs, R.E.M. Manager, spoke of changes in the music industry. Sometimes referred to as R.E.M.'s "fifth Beatle," Downs spoke about how changes in the music industry affect artists.

Harvard Law School faculty and Berkman Center co-Directors William Fisher and Charles Nesson, Warner Recorded Music head Lyor Cohen, Rep. John Conyers, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee governing the future of copyright law, and recording artists Amanda Palmer, Ben Folds, Neil Gaiman, and Damian Kulash of Ok Go spoke to large crowds busy tweeting insights into where the music industry is going.

According to Harvard Berkman's website:

"The Rethink Music conference is bringing together all sides and viewpoints on the subjects of creativity, commerce, and policy to engage in critical dialogue examining the business and rights challenges facing the music industry in the digital era, and to formulate ideas for the creation and distribution of new music and other creative works."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

US Reps Markey, Edwards, Film and TV Producers Kilbourne and Goodman address National Media Reform Conference

by Sarah Cortes- Following Rep. Nancy Pelosi's address Friday, US Representatives Ed Markey, D-MA, and Rep. Donna Edwards, D-MD, were among last night's keynote speakers at the National Conference for Media Reform at the Seaport Hotel. Addressing an audience that included representatives of many public access TV stations including Cambridge Community TV, Markey and Edwards spoke of the importance of the Net Neutrality Bill. Net Neutrality refers to rules implemented recently by Michael Copps, Obama's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Director, preventing internet service providers from blocking certain websites. Copps also spoke tonight, pointing out that net neutrality and universal access are key to freedom of speech and the press in a democracy.

Other speakers included Amy Goodman, Host of Democracy Now! and Dr. Jean Kilbourne, producer of the Killing us Softly series on Advertising's Images of Women and the public health issues relating to violence, depression and eating disorders those unhealthy images engender.

Congresswoman Donna Edwards addresses Net Neutrality at Media Reform Conference

by Sarah Cortes - Congresswoman Donna Edwards of the US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, with oversight of the Net Neutrality bill, addressed the National Media Reform Conference at the Seaport Hotel tonight. Edwards, who represents Maryland's 4th Congressional District, noted that last night's threatened government shutdown almost prevented her attendance at the local event.  She spoke of her opposition to the "anti"-net neutrality bill which cleared the US House of Representatives yesterday, but which has inadequate support in the Senate. The bill would allow internet service providers to block certain websites, by reversing Federal Communications Commission rules. Net neutrality rules were recently implemented by Obama's FCC Director Michael Copps, who also addressed tonight's conference at the keynote session. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who also opposes the anti-net neutrality bill, addressed the NMR conference yesterday.

Edwards became a bit of a Cinderella story when she defeated longtime incumbent Al Wynn in 2008 with 85% of the vote. The first female African-American elected to Congress in Maryland, she previously co-founded and served as executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence.