Musicians: Don’t Waste Your Time with Make Music NY This Year

by delarue

The first Make Music NY – a spinoff of the French Fete de la Musique – was a great idea, a daylong, non-corporate outdoor festival in thousands of locations all over New York, strictly for the sake of buskers and interested spectators. And for the first couple of years, particularly 2008, which was on a Saturday, it was a smashing success. Sadly, it started to go to hell right after that, fault of the organizers rather than the participants. The main problem is that instead of holding it on a Saturday or Sunday when everybody’s available to play, the latest incarnation of the organization that runs it insists on holding it on the solstice, meaning that there’s hardly anything happening until the sun goes down other than a handful of effete social media-driven events like 100 trombonists playing Horse with No Name, in other words, ill-conceived clusterfucks that only a gentrifier could come up with.

It gets worse: in order to play the festival officially now, you have to sign away the rights to your own music, just like on American Idol. Repost from the MMNY registration page:

“5. You hereby authorize, and grant all necessary rights to, us and our assignees, licensees, servants, employees, agents, representatives and other persons acting in similar capacities to make recordings (both audio-visual and audio only) of your performances at an Event (referenced to herein as the “Recordings”). We will use the Recordings for archival and promotional purposes and will not commercially release CDs or DVDs of the Recordings, unless we negotiate the relevant permissions and terms with you by separate agreement. We will own all rights (including copyright) throughout the world in perpetuity in the Recordings including the right to: (a) broadcast and/or communicate the Recordings to the public via television broadcast (both during the performances and from the Recordings); (b) communicate the Recordings over the internet; (c) communicate the Recordings to the public on radio (both for simulcast with the Performances and for simulcast with any later broadcast or transmission of the Recordings); (d) communicate the Recordings via screens around the venue (if applicable); (e) include the Recordings or excerpts from the Recordings on a video, CD, DVD or in other promotional material related to Make Music New York; (f) synchronize the Recordings with any media for any purpose set out in this paragraph; (g) reproduce the Recordings and (h) for other similar purposes without your prior consent. You will receive no payment for the uses of the Recordings. You acknowledge that we have the right to use your name, professional name, photographs, image, likeness, biography and any other information provided by you to us for any purposes connected with Make Music New York (including promotional purposes) without your prior consent.”

Since last year’s was such a debacle, according to MMNY’s official press release, “To make sure everyone has a chance to sign up, volunteers are calling last year’s musicians every evening for the next two weeks.” You want to be telemarketed about this next year? You’ve got til the 21st of this month to give them your number.

By the way, if you really feel that you’d miss out if you didn’t risk heatstroke and play on some random corner this coming June 21, you’ll have an abundance of random corners to choose from. A check of prime busking real estate – including the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park, the entirety of Tompkins Square Park, and the triangle where Metropolitan meets the BQE in Williamsburg – last June 21 revealed that most of it was left unclaimed, in many instances even after the sun had set. Enterprising buskers: occupy MMNY!