On October 18 & 19, 2014, the NYC chapter of the Content Creators Coalition held a benefit, rally, and protest march to raise money and awareness for their cause. They have three main points, which are that artists should have control of their own work; artists should receive fair pay for their work; and that artists should have the right of collective representation to protect their interests. (I think most music fans would have a hard time arguing with any of these points!)
The first part of the two-day event was held at Roulette in Brooklyn, which is one of my favorite venues for new music in the NYC metro area. This event was a benefit concert as well as a bit of a rally, with a number of speeches from musicians and other interested parties about the problems artists are facing today, especially in regards to the way profits from digital music are (mostly) being distributed to everyone but the artist who actually created the work. It was very educational and I learned a lot about the state of the music industry.
There were a number of performances throughout the night from too many musicians to list, but some of my favorites included a quartet of Steve Coleman, John Zorn, Ches Smith and Trevor Dunn; a solo clarinet performance by Doug Wieselman; and a quartet of Marc Ribot, Amir ElSaffar, Ches Smith and Henry Grimes (I hope this one in particular is a lineup that happens again in the future!).
The next day, Sunday, there was a free concert/rally at Le Poisson Rouge, ending with a roughly three-quarter-mile march through Greenwich Village and finishing with a protest at the New York Google offices (since they are heavily involved in the sort of digital music distribution that the Coalition is concerned with).
The concert was fairly similar to the benefit the night before, with similar speakers and the same short film, but with different musicians - again, too many people to list, but some highlights were Cibo Matto, Roseanne Cash with Wesley Stace, and Ava Mendoza (who I really loved - I'd never seen her perform before). In addition to the live music and speeches, we were encouraged to take some markers and make up some signs to hold during the protest march.
At the end of the concert, the grand finale was Kenny Wollesen and his band, the Himalayas - they started up in the hallway and most of the people in the venue (musicians and fans alike) followed along, beginning the march. This was really my favorite part of the weekend - the CCC did a great job of making the march appealing to everyone. I was actually sorry we didn't have a longer walk, I would have loved to keep following the band around Manhattan! The music was just right, the crowd had a fun vibe, it was a beautiful day, and the unsuspecting crowds we passed (tourists and locals alike) seemed, on the whole, very supportive of artists' rights and they seemed to appreciate the music and the spectacle. We were constantly being filmed and photographed by interested bystanders. Hopefully this is a good sign for the Content Creators Coalition and their mission. I'll definitely keep an eye out for future CCC events, and I'd encourage other music fans to do the same.