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MFM & Eclectix to Present an Evening of Jazz in Support of Professional Musicians

MFM and Eclectix

MFM & Eclectix to Present an Evening of Jazz in Support of Professional Musicians Wednesday, Sept 5th, 7-9 PM at Zinc Bar (NY)

The Event Will Feature Tenor Sax Master Billy Harper and His Group and the E.C.O. Ensemble, a Jazz Composers’ Quintet

New York City, Aug. 16, 2018 – Musicians for Musicians (MFM), a non-profit organization that advocates for and promotes a sustainable, professional career path for musicians, and Eclectix, a composers and musicians organization, will present an evening of jazz to bring together musicians, music industry professionals and music lovers. The music and networking event will take place on Wednesday, September 5 from 7-9 PM at Zinc Bar, 82 West 3rd Street in Manhattan and will feature tenor sax master and MFM board member Billy Harper and his group, as well as the E.C.O. Ensemble, a quintet of jazz composer/musicians. There will be a $10 cover charge and 2 drink minimum at tables; there is no cover at the bar.

Music professionals are invited to attend as part of MFM’s effort to bring together musicians from all disciplines, styles, traditions and localities in the cause of their mutual betterment. The music-loving public is invited to foster an understanding of the true value of music – beyond pure aesthetics and to support the professional roles of musicians who make their living from their art.

“We believe strongly that the time has come for the entire community of professional musicians to get together and advocate for themselves and their colleagues,” said MFM president Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi. “Without unity among musicians there’s no way to communicate that music is not, cannot and should not be free. If we are to have music in our lives, we must change this expectation that has developed in the digital age.”

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ACTION ALERT! Let's Support the CLASSICS ACT w. Mark Ribot and C3!!!

CLASSICS ACTMFM is joining our friends Marc Ribot of ARC 802 and the Content Creators Coalition (c3’s) in fighting for the CLASSICS Act (which we discussed in previous MFM meetings) ensuring that all pre-1972 artists are compensated for their work.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, acting in Silicon Valley corporate interests, has introduced the anti-artist “Access” bill to derail this and other pro-artist legislation.

MFM reaches out to you to join Marc Ribot and C3 on their social media campaign to let Wyden know that we’re not having it.

Please go to: Click the box that says Tweet. Text is preloaded:
“Hey @RonWyden why are you siding w/ big tech over musicians? Stop attacking artists’ retirement security #SupportCLASSICS.”

By supporting this campaign MFM wants to demonstrate #UnityInTheCommunity.

In case you have questions please contact:

In solidarity and music,
Sohrab (MFM President)

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Chicago's Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan, MFM Members and Authors On WGCO!

Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan

Chicago’s Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan, MFM Members and authors of the book Indie Band Survival Guide, will be on Playtime with Bill Turck and Kerri Kendall on Sunday May 27, 2018 from 2-3 PM Central time on WGCO.

1590 WCGO is a 10,000 watt radio station with studios in Evanston, IL.  One of the few independently owned and independent-minded radio stations in Chicago. Introducing SmartTalk for the 21st Century (

They will be speaking about musician issues and giving some advice how to do better as a professional musician.

They will be also speaking at the MFM Public Musicians Forum #7 at Brooklyn Music School, Thursday, June 28th. (Detailed info beginning oif next month.)

The DIY Advisor: Want To Make More Money with Music? (P.1)

The DIY Advisor: Want To Make More Money with Music? (P.2)

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Attention: MFM’s President Official Statement Reg. the Music Modernization Act (MMA)

Since February – as the President of MFM and a 24/7 professional musician – I’ve been doing my “homework” reg. the Music Modernization Act (MMA). I’ve been talking about this bill to people from the music industry, musician advocacy organizations, my union, professional musicians around me and music activists. Trying to get an understanding of this complex and essential bill, which has a long history.

It is clear that the MMA is a very important piece of legislation intended to benefit the music community, especially song writers/composers and music publishers. Honestly, I didn’t try to read the 100 plus pages of the latest version of the bill due to time limitation and not being a native speaker. So I left that to the experts around me pointing me out to the pro and cons.

In MFM’s previous two meetings we discussed this bill with all in attendance; and Ken Hatfield (MFM’s advisory Committee member) did a superb and in-depth job introducing this bill to the attending musicians.

Delving in to the details of MMA and the process involved in its creation and evolution has been a real eye opener for me…… I’ve learned a lot:

Firstly, I learned from it that music and business REALLY do go hand in hand. Confirming MFM’s slogan #MakingMusicIsAProfession. It made me understand how and why musicians have been exploited for so many years by our “so called” “employers” and how the public has become increasingly complicit in this.

Our exploitation has been going on for far too long to recount here. As pertains to recent history, the biggest exploitation started with the birth of the Internet, which changed the paradigms of music business. In order to create profitable business models the DSPs (Digital Service Providers) took advantage of safe harbor provisions (like the infamous 512 section of the DMCA) that limited their liability for illegal uses (perpetrated by those using their platforms…making the DSPs not “directly” responsible) of copyrighted materials (like our music) to build market share. The DSPs did this by promoting and profiting from illegal file-sharing to start with. They then collected and monetized the data of all their “users” that participated in what were illegal activities. This led to the abuses perpetrated by the supposedly “legal streaming services”…uses which MMA is intended to address.

This whole line of indentured servitude foisted on musicians was sold under the misleading banner of “information wants to be free” a nonsense phrase (selectively excerpted from what its author Stewart Brand actually said) and frequently used to justify access to copyrighted material…for FREE (though the platforms providing access were and are profiting from advertising and data mining connected to our content)…resulting in wholesale exploitation of all content creators especially the music workers.

The public blindly went along with it, because they only saw the short sighted advantage of getting stuff for free! Many musicians went along too, becoming willing victims of this digital eco system of serfdom by providing their (copyrighted) music for free via downloading and streaming. Why? Because they believed in the illusive value of the “free” exposure they would get out of it. In fact, this exposure proved to be of limited value to some indie musicians, but the majority of musicians didn’t achieve anything! Even major artists received far less under this new digital paradigm then previously paid under the old system.

Just look at the rates being paid. The current statutory compulsory rate is 9.1 cents per use (this is the rate intended for “phono records”…as stated in the NOIs that streamers routinely use to notify copyright owners that their music is being used), but streamers like Spotify only pay rates .0014 cents per use! Clearly a misuse of the compulsory license law’s intention!

Secondly, with the MMA issue I found an important topic to start a discussion with the MFM Board and MFM members. The MMA issue was “the common cause” I needed as an example to demonstrate MFM’s mission which wants to empower the fragmented community of professional musicians through common cause.

It helped me to bring musicians to our meetings and forums. (Some of them joined MFM later.) Respected professional musicians, such as Billy Harper and Ken Hatfield joined the MFM board and advisory community. Speaking of Billy Harper: since November he’s been running (with me) the monthly musician meetings on the Upper West Side. Because of him other respected musicians, such as Jimmy Owens, Michelle Shocked, Joe Lovano, Stanley Banks, Cynthia Scott, Ricky Ford, Robby K attended our meetings.

MMA was discussed in following occasions:

Thirdly, due to the MMA I had the chance to reach out to other musician organizations, music schools, local politicians and Local 802. Improve MFM’s presence on social media and get musicians outside of MFM interested in MFM, especially those who don’t believe in organizing.

All this said what is MFM’s stand position regarding MMA? Is it endorsing this bill?

As Dawoud wrote: “from legislative perspective this bill is important because 1. It is a bill that consolidates many of the best provisions of its predecessors into one bill, such as CASE and FAIR PLAY FAIR PAY ACT and 2. It has substantial support from the major players in the music community.”

The pros include the fact that digital service providers (DSPs), such as iTunes, Spotify, Pandora etc. have finally agreed that they will pay for every play/stream/broadcast use of music (identified and unidentified). This money will go to the music community and no longer stay with the DSPs (under the issuance of Notice Of Intent to seek a compulsory license to make phono records a.k.a. NOIs …which essentially result in delaying or not paying mechanical royalties). This money will be distributed by a Collective which will be under the Library of Congress who will grant it a charter of 5 years duration.

This Collective will not only distribute the money to writers and publishers, but it will also create and/or oversee the creation of a data base that all the DSP’s will rely on to identify and pay accordingly for any and all of the music that the DSPs play/stream broadcast etc. or otherwise use to generate revenue for their business.

The cons include the fact that the aforementioned collective as presently configured will be comprised of 10 publisher members and only 4 composer/writer members (and the publishers want to choose these four writer members). There is little or no transparency for independent self-published writers /composers regarding the right to audit the Collective. This right of audit is limited to the Big Publishers (which means that Sony and Universal will not only have the lions share of board members on the collective, but will be the only ones that can audit the Collective’s disbursements of the money they receive from the DSP’s). This configuration of the Collective is clearly unfair in light of the law which requires writers and publishers to spilt all these revenues 50-50 i.e. 50% to each!

The content of this bill is still “evolving”, although the MMA was unanimously voted out of the House Judiciary Committee April 11, 2018. I agree with Ken’s statement: “The music community will need to decide individually and collectively if we can live with the basic procedural intent of MMA while working to fix the issues we have with it before it is voted on by Congress.” So there’s still some time for the experts such as MusicAnswers, C3, the AFM, activists, such as Maria Schneider, David Lowery and many others to make changes before the Congress votes on it. But the time we have is dwindling away so we cannot wait indefinitely!

Due to the complexity of this bill I and MFM are still not able to participate in making meaningful corrections and come with good advice. On the contrary, MFM leaves that to the experts we trust. But MFM will support and endorse any decision done by the musician community. We believe that ONLY unity and solidarity among musicians and their reps will improve this bill. There are many in the music community that believe that MMA is overall an improvement for song-writer/composers and publishers. Though more so for the established than the fledgling indie artists. But, because there are mechanisms within the bill for future improvements, MFM wants this bill passed and signed by the President in the near future.

Attention: in order not to kill this bill, no MFM member can speak for MFM regarding any official MFM position on MMA. Of course all of MFM’s members may freely speak their minds as individual members of the music community and even members of MFM. But these are their personal views…not views sanctioned or advocated by MFM! Whatever he or she thinks, believes and claims are personal…and should be clearly stated as such…regarding MMA.  Again: the bill is too complex, it is clear that the majority of our members (including myself) are not able to grasp all the content of this bill…and given that it just made it through mark-ups (on Tuesday 04-10-18) most congressional representatives are also unlikely to be able to address it in its entirety! So for this one MFM needs to observe and learn to prepare us for future actions!

In solidarity and music,

Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi (MFM’s President) – 4/17/2018



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Jazz Legend Billy Harper joined MFM's Board!!!

“Musicians – we have to stop being so proud of being “very independent” and realize that: We are not alone. We are connected as in group of jazz musicians or, just group of musicians.
Like it or not …… it has been the “negative stigma” placed on us as a “group”.
Therefore, it is necessary for us to “join together” ….for our own good.
To end: let us learn how to support each other!
Wouldn’t that be great … after being taught to “fight and compete with each other?” 
– Billy Harper

Great news: legendary jazz man and educator Billy Harper joined MFM’s Board of Directors last week. He’s a respected jazz musician, has a strong fanbase and has no problem to motivate jazz musicians to join MFM. For being “old school,” he thinks quite modern and liberal.

Since November last year he and Sohrab have been running monthly (jazz) musicians meetings called the MFM Public Musicians Forum in the Upper West Side.

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Ken Hatfield Joins the MFM Advisory Committee

Let’s welcome Ken Hatfield to the MFM Advisory Committee who brings a wealth of knowledge of “the business.” He’s been attending several MFM meetings and did a presentation on the Music Modernization Act issues last month.

He shares with us the belief in a fair and sustainable musical eco-system in which all the participants share equally in the revenues generated by the use of our content especially via the platforms that the tech companies have created and maintain in order to disseminate our music to the audience that wants to consume it.

A Short Bio

Guitarist and composer KEN HATFIELD is a leading proponent of jazz played on the classical guitar. In 2006 the ASCAP Foundation recognized his significant contributions by presenting him with its prestigious Vanguard Award for “innovative and distinctive music that is charting new directions in jazz.”

Ken has released nine CDs as a leader that feature him performing his original compositions, either as a soloist or with his ensembles. He has published six books of his compositions, as well as his instructional book Jazz and the Classical Guitar: Theory and Application. Ken’s compositional experience covers a wide range of styles and instrumentations, including jazz works for his own ensembles, solo classical guitar works, choral works, and ballet scores for Judith Jamison, The Washington Ballet Company, and the Maurice Béjart Ballet Company. He has also written scores for television and film, including Eugene Richards’ award-winning documentary but, the day came.  



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David Belmont Joined MFM's Board Of Directors Yesterday!

David BelmontLet’s welcome David Belmont to our board of directors (BoD). He subs Paul Testagrossa who resigned yesterday due to his start up. Thanks Paul for the good work you have done. Good luck in your business!

About David Belmont

David Belmont (dobro, percussion) is a mixed media artist and community organizer living in New York City. An indie musician before the phrase was coined, David has produced over 30 albums of his own work since 1975. They includeInternational Steel Guitar (2014) with cellist Brent Arnold and WindWater Excursions (2000), which spent 8 months on the New Age Voice Top 100 Airplay list. He is currently co-music director of the Castillo Theatre, where he has arranged the score and sound design of 17 plays and musicals over the past 11 years.