Monday, September 03, 2007

Jenny Toomey of The Future of Music Coalition: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

As a fan of her work in the band Tsunami, when I first heard that its singer/songwriter Jenny Toomey was working with a group of policy and legislative folks in Washington D.C. at The Future of Music Coalition, I was sort of surprised.

Toomey fronted the indie rock band Tsunami for much of the 1990s and a subsequent solo career that she continues today. She was also the co-founder of Simple Machines Records which, between 1990-1997 released over 70 records for acts including Tsunami, Scrawl, Ida, Grenadine, and Liquorice. Toomey's band mate and business partner was Kristin Thomson, who is also a Deputy and Education Director at The Future of Music Coalition. When you put it all together, though, it all makes perfect sense: she's an independent musician who is still looking out for other working, independent musicians.

Started in 2000, The Future of Music Coalition's founders were Policy Director Michael Bracy, General Council Walter F. McDonough, Executive Director Toomey, and Technologies Director Brian Zisk.

Today, the Future of Music Coalition’s mission statement is "a national non-profit education, research and advocacy organization that identifies, examines, interprets and translates the challenging issues at the intersection of music, law, technology and policy. FMC achieves this through continuous interaction with its primary constituency – musicians – and in collaboration with other creator/citizen groups."

Among the issues that the coalition has focused on are music licensing, payola, low-power radio, health insurance for musicians, network neutrality, record label contracts, Internet radio licensing, and many other topics that are key to the current and future era of music-making for both independent and rising musicians.

The organization’s seventh policy summit takes place in Washington D.C. on September 17-18, 2007 (and I’ll be at the summit this year, so drop me a line at if you are attending). The summit includes a mix of industry professionals, public policy experts, and musicians with a mix of panels and parties to help educate attendees and work toward reaching collaboration. Audio podcasts of many of the panels are available online after the show. For more information, visit their event site.