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Firstly, organizing musicians is a lot like organizing migrant farm workers. Most musicians are too busy trying to keep their heads above water financially and keep their creative spark alive to be political. The organizing movement needs a dynamic, articulate and visible figurehead. I don't think David C. Lowery is it. Much as I respect his passion, he is too angry to be an effective Cesar Chavez. Somebody smart and diplomatic - who is an actual musician like Lowery - must step forward bear the standard for working musicians, champion their cause. Musicians unions have not been effective in working the licensing, compensation and technology issues. I don't believe representation is currently happening effectively in the halls of Congress -witness the strong condemnation by some artists groups of the IRFA. Why were these constituents not at the table when this bill was being written? Why was their input not solicited earlier in the political process? Broken process.

Second, the technology and platform providers (read: every company involved in writing software that has anything to do with creating and distributing music, from Avid to Google to Spotify) need to get together and hammer out an API that effectively allows the exchange of relevant metadata so the product (a song) can be tracked from cradle to grave - from production to consumption. It's byzantine how the system works now. This is a standards creation problem, it's been tackled before in the tech community (from telephone service to operating systems and application software). It certainly wouldn't be easy, but it is possible for key stakeholder company engineers to get together and map out flowcharts and design a software system that works so money can flow semi-transparently from consumer back to creator. Of course, the business model needs to work, and that is the problem. Many of the current players have competing financial interests, but perhaps everyone will see eventually that we all lose if nothing is done to create a better technological solution: artists, technology platform providers, consumers, and the labels/middlemen.

Matt Urmy

I agree with you, and there is strong evidence that the leaders of music tech companies are getting together to map out an integrated ecosystem (and there is a lot more data to port and track then just the life cycle of a song), so I am very encouraged. Musicians have been bearing most of the weight of the industry's chaos, and I view it as imperative that we design tools that relieve them of that burden and streamline the processes of working for a living in this new paradigm. Thanks for your comment!

Gary Shiebler

One of the biggest problems is that listening to music has become just another spoke in a multi-tasking universe. There was a time when the purchase and subsequent listen to a new record was an activity in and of itself, a period of time that was set aside, protected and valued....

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