Show Me The Money: Conference Tackles Urgent and Perpetual Issue For Musicians

SAN FRANCISCO-What does it mean to make a living as a musician in the digital age, and what are the most viable revenue streams to help achieve that dream?

Those were two of the dominant questions at the SF MusicTech Summit this week, where representatives from internet radio, app companies, music publishing, and the recording industry gathered to discuss, as they did at February’s gathering, the implications of music’s unbridled digital transmission between consumers, as well the expanding opportunities to charge people for it.

As the Summit kicked off and Pandora’s breakdown of its payments to artistsricocheted around the Internet, Pandora founder Tim Westergren held court at a panel here to discuss the rates the streaming radio platform pays to artists. In what Lauren Danzy, Marketing Manager for performance rights group SoundExchange, called a “lively discussion,” Westergren stumped for the Internet Fairness Act, of which Pandora has been a leading proponent. Westergren maintains that the current ratesthat Pandora pays are making its business unprofitable, and he suggested that has a trickle-down effect that stifles the company’s capacity to create new revenue opportunities for musicians.

Part of what drew Danzy to attend SF Music Tech for the first time was her interested in galvanizing artists to get involved in the fight for increased payments. “This conference is just great. It’s got a lot of people in the tech space, I mean, serious movers and shakers. Everybody from entrepreneurs with startup businesses to more established organizations, and a lot of music advocates, which I love. I love to be here with people who are really fighting on behalf of artists,” she enthused.

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