February 5, 2015
Musician-focused nonprofit founded in 2000 announces new Board members; executive leadership; incoming staff; advisory councils; physical location
WASHINGTON, DC—Future of Music Coalition (FMC), the celebrated nonprofit resource for musicians and composers, has positioned itself for further success in its mission to equip today’s and tomorrow’s creators with the tools they need to be effective in a changing musical landscape.
With a new office in the vibrant music district that is lower 14th Street in Washington, DC and a revitalized Board, FMC is poised to make a lasting impact on issues at the intersection of music, technology, policy and law.
FMC staffer Casey Rae, who joined the organization in 2007, will serve as CEO. FMC also welcomes seven new Board members who each bring a tremendous depth of expertise and commitment to issues that impact musicians and the broader creative ecosystem.
In 2015 and beyond, FMC will grow its network of artists, managers and advocates while advancing concrete ideas about how technology can better serve creators. In addition to new research projects, workshops and convenings, FMC will help the music community understand and engage in the policy issues that impact their lives and livelihoods.
Said CEO Casey Rae: “It’s so exciting to be a part of a new phase of an organization that has already accomplished so much on behalf of artists. FMC has a long history of groundbreaking research and analysis and we will build on this legacy to empower the music community in exciting new ways. The energy and expertise represented by our Board and staff is truly incredible. All of it will be put to use helping artists and their teams make informed choices about their own future in music. To experience this spirit of service is truly a humbling and powerful thing.”
Joining the FMC Board in 2015:
Ryan Chisholm is an artist manager at Nettwerk Music Group, where he represents Christina Perri, Madi Diaz, Good Old War and Giovanni James with his co-manager/partner Tom Gates. Since her debut in 2010, Christina Perri has sold over 1 million albums and 15 million singles worldwide. Good Old War has modestly built themselves to be one of the most active touring bands in America playing over 175 shows in 2012 alone. Indie/Pop Siren Madi Diaz has just released her highly anticipated new album, Phantom on Nettwerk Records. Phantom received over 120,000 album track streams in the first 7 days on Spotify. Giovanni James is the newest addition to Ryan and Tom’s roster, signed to Warner Brothers Records in 2014. Along with his role as artist manager, Ryan also serves as an A&R for Nettwerk’s label and publishing company. His first signing was Chris Batson, a 22-year old singer-songwriter from Orlando, FL who’s recently been covered by BET, Vibe, Complex and MTV Buzzworthy as one of the “artist to watch” in 2014. In 2011, Ryan (along with Rahim Sonawalla and Abe Burns) co-founded Hollywood Hack Day, which is a two-day event that brings together the top developers and designers in Southern California to create the next generation of entertainment based web and mobile applications. Ryan was also named as one of Billboard’s 30 under 30 “Young Execs You Need To Watch” and one of IQ Magazine’s top 10 “New Bosses” in 2011.
Merrill Garbus has performed as tUnE-yArDs since 2009, and that band name has been synonymous with forward movement—whether that’s her explosive performance style or the ever-surprising way in which her songs unfold. First gaining notice with the debut BiRd-BrAiNs, which The New York Times called “a confident do-it-yourselfer’s opening salvo: a staticky, low-fi, abrasive attention-getter,” Garbus forged a reputation as a formidable live presence through relentless touring. In 2011, tUnE-yArDs released its second album, w h o k i l l, a startling and sonically adventurous statement that led to a whirlwind period where Garbus and bassist Nate Brenner accrued accolades from critics (including the #1 spot on the Village Voice’s 2011 Pazz and Jop poll), performed in front of increasing numbers of rapturous crowds around the world, and collaborated with the likes of Yoko Ono and ?uestlove. Nikki Nack is the stunning third album by the Oakland-based band. A complex, textured statement that opens with a clarion call to ‘Find A New Way’ and spends its 13 tracks getting there, it’s a showcase of how Garbus’s songwriting has blossomed, and a testament to how current technologies can combine with themes from the past—Saturday mornings spent watching Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, puppet shows based on Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal, hard days made less so by the refuge provided by top-40 radio—to create something utterly original.
Dick Huey is the founder of Toolshed, a company that provides digital strategy, digital and brand/band marketing, and content acquisition services to entertainment companies and artists, consumer brands, and digital music services. His company is part of a new breed of marketing companies that develop partnerships with select artists. Current and past clients include Merge Records, Beggars Group, Spotify, Red Mountain Resort, and Red Bull. Through Toolshed, Dick has also developed top-level digital strategies for artists such as The Civil Wars, MNDR, Ani DiFranco, Sufjan Stevens, The Arcade Fire, and Aimee Mann. He is a founding new media committee member of A2IM, a past board member representing Matador Records at SoundExchange, and has held advisory board roles at CASH Music, TuneCore, and RoyaltyShare. Prior to his work with Toolshed, he launched and headed the New Media department at the Beggars Group (XL Recordings, 4AD, Matador Records, Rough Trade) from 1997 to 2001, licensed the Group’s groundbreaking digital catalog, and developed the Group’s digital strategy. He has managed the careers of several music artists signed to Kill Rock Stars, Simple Machines, Beggars Banquet, and Glitterhouse Records.
Vickie Nauman is an accomplished and respected digital music executive who specializes in digital media and content strategy, the intersection of technology and music, and global business development. Her diverse digital experience includes starting up and running the US business for 7digital as President, North America, leading the global partnerships for wireless digital music system Sonos, founding consultancy and advisory firm CrossBorderWorks and working on projects in US, Europe and China. She also created the online strategy and service for boutique Seattle music station KEXP, and did content development for one of the first legal digital services MusicNet (RealNetworks JV) in 2001. Prior to her entry into the digital realm, she ran marketing programs and produced live broadcasts in traditional radio in the NPR network and started out at Procter & Gamble. She earned a 2006 MBA from the London School of Economics, New York University, and HEC-Paris, in the collaborative executive program TRIUM.
Thao Nguyen is a musician, songwriter and activist who leads the band Thao & the Get Down Stay Down. Having grown up in Falls Church, VA, Thao first picked up a guitar at the age of 12 and began performing in a pop country duo in high school. She spent most of her 20s touring, supporting one critically acclaimed album after another. She’s worked with a laundry list of vaunted artists including Andrew Bird, Mirah, Laura Viers and producer Tucker Martine. She even toured the U.S. with the nationally syndicated NPR radio program “Radiolab.” But a little over a year ago, Thao stopped and settled finally in San Francisco. There she spent time establishing a life off the road. That included thinking about things besides music and participating in her community, most notably advocating for those incarcerated in the SF county jail and CA state prison system. At the end of that transformative period, Thao collected her work and stepped into the studio with producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, Bill Callahan, Explosions in the Sky, The Walkmen). The result is We the Common, a major step forward from this already-beloved artist. The album is raw and rollicking, homemade and reckless, 12 songs capturing this utterly unique writer and performer like never before.
Benji Rogers is currently President of PledgeMusic, the global direct-to-fan company he co-founded in 2008 and ran as CEO until 2014. A public speaker, investor, and musician from London and New York, Rogers co-founded Radiary Creations in 2014 and is an advisor to a multitude of companies, including Dubset Media, Sound Diplomacy, Cords for Music, First Artist Bank, and NoiseTrade. In 2014 he was the recipient of the A&R Worldwide “Digital Executive of the Year” award, and in 2013 he made the Billboard 40 Under 40 Power Players list. He is an instructor at Berklee College of Music, teaching the Music Business Trends and Strategies course for Berklee Online. Recent engagements include keynote addresses and panels at SXSW, Midem, European Culture Forum, SF MusicTech Summit, Canadian Music Week, MMF, BPI, Music Matters, GRAMMY Camp, and many more.
Ken Umezaki is an angel investor and business advisor for digital music startups, through his company Digital Daruma, with a specific focus on artist and b2b music and media service companies. He is also an experienced music business executive, focusing on business development, strategy and fundraising for the companies he works with. His past experience includes 25 years in financial services trading, asset management and senior management positions. He is also an experienced musician, and currently plays bass in the band Fifth of Bourbon. Lastly, he is involved in a number of music foundations and academic organizations, including the national board of Little Kids Rock, Future of Music Coalition and advisory board positions at New York University, Berklee College of Music, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Also serving on the Board are musician, label owner and social science researcher Kristin Thomson, music manager Emily White and Peter DiCola, Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern University.
FMC founding Board members Michael Bracy, Walter McDonough and Brian Zisk will transition to emeritus status on the board, but will each remain a vital part of the organization as active advisors on policy, legal and technical matters. In addition, Board members Farnum Brown and Bryan Calhoun are stepping off the governing Board and will assist FMC in establishing its leadership councils.
Said FMC co-founder and longtime Board president Michael Bracy: “I am so proud of Future of Music Coalition’s staying power over the past 15 years. As the music community faces even more challenging issues and challenges, this symbolic and literal passing of the torch empowers the next generation of leadership. I couldn’t be more excited for Casey, Kevin and the rest of our staff and am particularly appreciative of the next generation of board leadership. I will always be a part of FMC, either as a consultant, informal advisor or friend, and look forward to many bright days ahead.”
To maximize its impact across issues, FMC will bring on a new policy/legal professional to the DC team that includes Casey Rae, Communications & Outreach Manager Kevin Erickson and Office Manager Dany Sigwalt. Musician, researcher and advocate Jean Cook will continue as Director of Programs; musician, engineer and insurance expert Alex Maiolo will advise on health insurance issues; and board member Kristin Thomson will serve as an outside consultant on select research and education projects.
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