Monday, January 26, 2009

Meet the Policy Day Panelists: Derek Sivers

Derek Sivers

With so many cool and interesting panelists on board for our upcoming DC Policy Day (February 11!) it’s hard to choose which guest to be more excited over. That said, there is one speaker that every musician attending should take special note of: Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby and the mind behind DIY music info hub

For those of you who don’t know, Sivers founded CD Baby in after quitting his job at Warner Music to become a full time musician. Instead of trying to score a record deal and conventional distribution, Sivers began selling his CD on his personal website. Soon he was helping his musician friends do the same, and CD Baby was born. Since those humble beginnings, the site has grown to include more than 267,000 acts, sold more than five million CDs to online customers and has paid more than 98 million dollars directly to artists (whoa!).

No doubt those are impressive numbers. But in 2008 Sivers decided to move on from CD Baby in order to focus on informing and inspiring indie musicians at (Did we mention that prior to all of this he toured with the circus as a ringleader/musician? And that he's never tried coffee?)

So with CD Baby, Warner Music and the circus behind him, this FMC Board member following through with his mission. Through his website, Sivers offers numerous projects to help out the everyday musician trying to pursue their art and hopefully earn a buck.

From his free e-book full of tips on how to successfully promote your music to MuckWork, a concept involving the outsourcing of promotional and design chores, Sivers is always dreaming up ways to help musicians become more empowered and self-sufficient. Particularly interesting is his grassroots music biz documentary, which lets musicians interview magazine writers, club promoters and radio programmers (to name a few) to better understand the how the gears turn.

Sivers will be moderating a panel at Policy Day ’09 called “Fair Trade Music: Toward a Legitimate Digital Music Marketplace,” which also features legendary British manager and artist advocate Peter Jenner and Pandora founder Tim Westergren (they’ll be joined by one more soon-to-be-named individual). Expect a fascinating conversation about new applications and technologies that help musicians promote and sell their music, and how policy decisions affect the viability of these sites and services.

As always, we’ll be offering a limited number of musician scholarships to Policy Day; click here to apply!

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