As it enables greater access to information, technology sheds light in corners of the media industry long obscured by fog and shadow. In Washington last week, at the 14th annual Future of Music Policy Summit, musicians and music industry executives shared a stage with attorneys and entrepreneurs for an illuminating discussion of “transparency” in their business, as seen from many angles.
Musicians want transparency in accounting and royalty distribution. Indie labels want more information about negotiations with streaming services and others. Songwriters worry, too, about the lack of transparency in direct deals made between publishers and platforms.
In such a discussion, David Herlihy can sing both the melody and the harmony, representing music-making and policy-making. As frontman for Boston’s O Positive rock band who recorded for Epic Records as well as indie labels in the 1980s and early 1990s, Herlihy made the transition from regional favorite to national act. Later, he made another transition to practicing copyright and intellectual property law, and to lecturing as an Assistant Academic Specialist in the Music Department of Boston’s Northeastern University.
For the Future of Music Policy Summit, Herlihy moderated the panel, Whose Transparency is it Anyway? For Beyond the Book, he shared with CCC’s Chris Kenneally his thoughts on how music creators and producers share much in common with authors and publishers in the age of YouTube and Spotify.