No one knows for certain how artists will survive the relentless climate of the digital age. Many areas where the rivers of nickels once flowed are now streams of fractions of pennies.  People are simply accustomed to free music now- legal or otherwise.  Unfortunately, free music does not pay for instrument repair, mortgage, rent, production costs, or health insurance. This laundry list may not impact life as a student, but within days of graduation the realities of life dictate that students find a way to earn a living too.

Of all the topics planned for the 2010 Future of Music Policy Summit, I dare say that artist compensation is one of the sessions in highest demand by both developing and mature musicians. The Summit begins on Sunday, October 3, and more than 100 industry panelists will pitch their well-educated guesstimates and predictions on where and how artists will be compensated for their work. My goal is to record the harmony among the predictions and wet your appetite for knowledge in the areas that appear to be most promising. I want to know how we can best position the Berklee community to enjoy what’s left of the pie- and create new ones. I will have the details for you next Thursday.

Otherwise, with only four days left, we are racing to finalize edits and artwork for the program, securing private car reservations (for a few big industry names to which I am sworn to secrecy), and promoting both the Summit and the Dear New Orleans Benefit Rock Show.  Headlining is Bonerama with Damian Kulash of OK Go, Jenny Toomey and Franklin Bruno, Hank Shocklee (Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad) and Jonny 5 of Flobots, just to name a few of the nine confirmed (we’re going to be there all night!).

As for marketing, I am on Facebook, Twitter (there’s a session on synergies with social networking too), and reaching out to every contact I have in the District of Columbia. We need coverage by city agencies, including the arts, entertainment, and tourism agencies. I am negotiating blog coverage, newsletter mentions, and online postings for this event. We are also pushing special VIP tickets for a sound check cocktail hour along with a bit of merch. It’s every concert promoter’s last minute push to sell those tix!


Shai Littlejohn

Shai Littlejohn is an attorney in the music industry, singer-songwriter and Professional Music major at Berklee. She is currently interning with the Future of Music Coaliton, an artist’s rights lobby and advocacy group in Washington DC. Though late November, Shai will work as an integral member of the coalition team in developing, organizing and promoting both the Future of Music Policy Summit as well as the Dear New Orleans Benefit Rock Show.

Follow Shai on Twitter for continuing tips and updates on music law and policy at

See also:

Future of Music Series: Setting the Stage on Music Policy

Future of Music Series: Shai Littlejohn