Volume 2 | July 2018
Dear Reader:

Thanks for joining us for this issue of “Music Worker,” a newsletter by the Content Creators Coalition (c3). 

(If you are wondering about the name of this newsletter or its purpose, check out our  letter from the inaugural issue.)

First, we are excited to welcome our newest Executive Board member, Maggie Vail, Executive Director of the nonprofit CASH Music

As an artist and indie label manager, Maggie sees and lives the challenges of the modern music world every day. That unique perspective has helped her lead CASH Music’s efforts to empower artists in the digital age and will help boost c3’s efforts to advocate for music creators and lovers alike. Maggie brings a lot to the table for c3 and we are lucky to have her on board.

Second, we have been busy! As the United States Senate considers the Music Modernization Act (“MMA”), c3 is actively supporting the bill. The songwriter pay reforms and promise of fair royalties for performers who recorded music before 1972 are urgently needed. We joined with MusicAnswers in seeking changes to the bill and made headway in the Senate Judiciary Committee. While c3 thinks the bill can be further improved by the Senate, we hope it passes quickly, following the lead of the House of Representatives, which recently passed it by a vote of 415 to 0 and the unanimous approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 28.

We’ve been fighting the concentration of power in the hands of very few tech companies, like Google and Facebook, who essentially act as gatekeepers between artists and their fans and take advantage of outdated laws to profit from the unlicensed use of our music. As the first step in that fight, we’ve joined a Coalition called “Freedom from Facebook,” which is calling to break up the company.

Third, this issue is full of great reads with two particular standout pieces: Rhett Miller’s “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Rocker,” which delves into the distortions of the creative process caused by big data and big tech. Rhett’s article runs in parallel to Jonathan Taplin’s new “afterword” to his groundbreaking Move Fast and Break Things . The book blew the whistle on the philosophical underpinnings of tech companies and their reckless disregard for the destruction of the creative class. This new afterword, which also appears in the  just-out paperback edition of the book, picks up the story with new revelations about how that reckless disregard for the damage these platforms cause is undermining American democracy.

In our inaugural edition of “Music Worker,” which was issued just after the Stoneman Douglas school shooting, we vowed that we would continue to press for policies to fight gun violence. Since then, a Waffle House in the “Music City” of Nashville was the scene of more senseless violence.  Four died in this shooting, and more would have been lost had it not been for the heroism of James Shaw, Jr., who wrestled the gun from the assailant.

We are continuing to fight on this bedrock issue and c3’s own Executive Board Member Rosanne Cash has joined the Music Council of Everytown for Gun Safety. On June 1 st , Everytown’s Music Council announced new members including: Bebe Rexha, Cyndi Lauper, Grizzly Bear, Incubus, Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter, Lizzo, The National, Natalie Merchant, Peaches, Samantha Ronson, Steve Aoki and the X Ambassadors (joining Rosanne, Andrew Bird, Common, Questlove, and Yoko Ono).  We encourage you to  join Everytown for Gun Safety too.

Finally, like you, we were horrified at the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that dictated the inhumane separation of children from their parents, locking children in cages. We spoke out calling for an end to that policy, the reunification of families, and that trauma and counseling support be provided to those affected. We note the ambiguity surrounding the supposed roll back of this policy and remain vigilant about this Administration’s immigration policies.

We’re grateful you’ve joined us and if you find this newsletter valuable, please pass it along to others and encourage them to sign up to receive it directly.

Rosanne Cash
Tommy Manzi
John McCrea
Tift Merritt
Matthew Montfort
Maggie Vail
CLASSICS Corner: The Arbitrary Divide
The music industry has a long history of song covers, sampling, and remixing. Reinvention is a key pillar of artistry. Unfortunately, the way streaming services like SiriusXM have interpreted state laws has created an arbitrary divide of who gets paid for their art and who doesn’t. Songs recorded after 1972 receive royalty payments when they’re played, while songs recorded prior don’t. Read more here.
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Rocker
By Rhett Miller, Lead Singer of the Old 97's

I drank poison and ate pills and spent the night in the hospital, surviving by the narrowest of margins. When I emerged into consciousness, waking up to my second act, I was singing a song. My delivery was mumbling and incoherent, to be sure, but it was a song nonetheless, specific and discrete. From that point on, everything else, everything that wasn’t music, sloughed off. Read Rhett's full piece here .

The piece originally appeared in The Baffler .
Move Fast and Break Things: Afterword
By Jonathan Taplin, Author

I think big changes could happen if we approach the problem of monopolization of the Internet with honesty, a sense of history, and a determination to protect what we all agree is important: our cultural inheritance. We all need the access to information the Internet provides, but we need to be able to share information about ourselves with our friends without unwittingly supporting a corporation’s profits. Facebook and Google must be willing to alter their business model to protect our privacy and help thousands of artists create a sustainable culture for the centuries, not just make a few software designers billionaires. Read Jonathan's full afterword here .

To purchase Jonathan Taplin's book, click here .
We Have the Power to Fix Facebook, And So Do You.

c3 has joined a new coalition to fight back and demand that the Federal Trade Commission take the necessary action to give us our Freedom From Facebook. The five members of the FTC can make Facebook work for musicians, but not make musicians work for Facebook. Read the whole story here .
The Devil in the Details of the DMCA: c3's Education Initiative
By Chelsea Crowell

One of the most significant challenges I ran into when I began working with c3 was asking artists to advocate for themselves by speaking on these issues to their representatives or other artists. Nearly all artists had the desire to communicate about these issues, but that desire was often extinguished by the inability to articulate the complicated ways in which many outdated laws work against them. Suffice it to say; we didn't have an artist problem; we had an education problem. Read more on c3's educational class here .
The View from DC
By Ted Kalo, Executive Director

When we last checked in, music licensing reform was going from a crawl to a walk. A lot has happened since then, and we are closer to historic reform than ever before, but ONE Senator – Ron Wyden of Oregon is standing in the way. Read the whole story here .
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Content Creators Coalition | www.c3action.org | c3action@outlook.com