Honorary Chairman cancer survivor Andrew Shapter
Director, film maker and photographer Andrew Shapter is the creative force behind the critically acclaimed documentary “Before the Music Dies”. The film, which profiles artists like Erykah Badu, The Roots, Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews and Branford Marsalis, was inspired by the need to give musicians a voice in an industry dominated by a pop music influence. The documentary opened up a channel of conversation about the commercialization of the art of music.
[T]he present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. ~ George Orwell
Noam Chomsky in “What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream” wrote:
If you’ve read George Orwell’s Animal Farm which he wrote in the mid-1940s, it was a satire on the Soviet Union, a totalitarian state. It was a big hit. Everybody loved it. Turns out he wrote an introduction to Animal Farm which was suppressed. It only appeared 30 years later. Someone had found it in his papers. The introduction to Animal Farmwas about “Literary Censorship in England” and what it says is that obviously this book is ridiculing the Soviet Union and its totalitarian structure. But he said England is not all that different. We don’t have the KGB on our neck, but the end result comes out pretty much the same. People who have independent ideas or who think the wrong kind of thoughts are cut out.
He talks a little, only two sentences, about the institutional structure. He asks, why does this happen? Well, one, because the press is owned by wealthy people who only want certain things to reach the public. The other thing he says is that when you go through the elite education system, when you go through the proper schools in Oxford, you learn that there are certain things it’s not proper to say and there are certain thoughts that are not proper to have. That is the socialization role of elite institutions and if you don’t adapt to that, you’re usually out. Those two sentences more or less tell the story.
Six media giants control 90% of what we read, watch, or listen to (see below). This has a profound effect on the music that we get to hear. According to a Future of Music Coalition press release Rich Bengloff, President, American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) is quoted as saying:
Independent music accounts for approximately 38 percent of digital sales in the U.S. and over 40 percent of audience impressions at internet radio but consistently receives only slightly more than 10 percent of traditional commercial radio airplay. It’s obvious that music fans want independent music, and commercial radio programmers continue to ignore that demand at their own peril.
In addition to mostly playing music from major labels, radio stations in the United States do not compensate performers when their songs are played on the radio. Very few countries do not compensate performers for radio airplay. In addition to the U.S., there is North Korea, Iran, and China.
WE NEED SOMETHING MORE!