FAC Names New Co-Chairs16th November 2010
The Featured Artists Coalition is reaching out to students and new bands as it names two new co-chairs and launches an advisory board.
Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason will be joined as co-chair of the organisation by Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien and singer Sandie Shaw, while recent chart star Rumer has also joined the group.
While the three chairs will not have specific titles, their responsibilities will be broadly divided thus: O’Brien will oversee education, Shaw will look out for female artists and musicians and Mason’s role will be more ambassadorial. Blur drummer David Rowntree, who previously served as co-chairman, has had to stand down from the role due to other commitments including his legal career.
“I have been co-chairman for a year but finally they realised I can’t do it alone,” Mason says. “The belief is that in this organisation, it suits us to have a number of chair people.”
“We are all working artists,” adds Shaw, who has been inspired by her work with the FAC to restart her singing career. “We don’t want to be businessmen and we all have our own roles.”
“I want to foster, to help create enthusiasm and to empower if possible,” says O’Brien of his educational remit. “And with the FAC we have the possibility of doing that.”
O’Brien explains he was inspired by a joint FAC/University College Falmouth event earlier this year where Howard Jones, Billy Bragg and FAC CEO Jeremy Silver talked with students about the future of the music industry. “I was always slightly suspicious of music courses and Brit schools so it was a real education for me,” says the Radiohead guitarist. “There was a huge array of talent.”
Now the FAC, which currently has some 2,500 official supporters, is planning to offer student membership. There are also plans to offer support and resources for up-and-coming bands and those coming into the industry, such as a website filled with information on the industry.
Mason explains joining the FAC should be one of the first things a new band does so they can tap into its resources. “That would be terrific, to not just have established artists,” he says.
Mason adds rivalries between bands are mostly fictitious and artists do in fact enjoy working together. “It is painted as a competitive industry but it isn’t really,” he says. “I feel quite strongly that we really enjoy working together. The more people the better. We’d like to spread the net as widely as possible.”
Plans for the Advisory Council are less advanced, but Shaw explains it will include representatives from labels, management, publishers and lawyers, and will advise the FAC on the direction it should take.
Mason also defends the position of the FAC over filesharing and says the organisation’s image has been misrepresented in the media. “We have been termed as the Taliban of the music industry in favour of free downloads, but we are not that,” he adds. “If there is money being made from it then the artists should benefit and the artists should decide what is free or paid for. There are dissenting views in the FAC but we should represent that. We felt that [with the DEA] the legislation was very, very clunky.”
Shaw adds that artists just wanted to have a voice – and say – in how the industry moves forward.
Source: Music Week