News and updates from the members of our collective! 

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Fair Play: SMC’s Vision For A More Equitable NYC Music Scene

by Nikhil P. Yerawadekar

Our very first Sound Mind Collective meeting took place in September of 2017. It was a sprawling conversation about the broad range of difficulties we deal with in the field of independent music, concluding with a collective desire to organize towards a healthier NYC music landscape.
That same month, Mayor De Blasio signed the Office Of Nightlife into existence. Inspired by similar efforts in European cities, the Office of Nightlife, or ONL for short, is a small governmental body “working to balance vibrancy and safety by proactively managing life at night,” intended to yield “social benefits such as reductions in noise complaints, and healthier, more productive nighttime economies” while also remaining “committed to promoting safe spaces and social justice, protecting grassroots cultural spaces, streamlining red tape and regulations, ensuring fair and proportionate enforcement, and advancing quality of life for all New Yorkers.”

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Sound Mind Collective Announces Residency with Human Impacts Institute

By Mike Sarason

As of June 1, 2019 the Sound Mind Collective (SMC) has officially entered into a residency program with the Human Impacts Institute (HII), a community organizing and environmental activism focused organization based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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The Heart and Soul of the Sound Mind Collective

By Alba Ponce de León

It’s 10pm on Saturday night, and I’m watching as many live performance videos of Ella Fitzgerald as my hungry little fingertips can Google. What began as a curiosity about the choice recording microphones of Billie Holliday (Shure 730B) and Ella Fitzgerald (Shure Model 55) has turned into a YouTube vortex.

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On the Music Modernization Act

By Joseph Rhoades

"Right now we just need the songwriter and artist community to hold each other accountable, and to not get lazy thinking someone else will make a change for us."

- Ross Golan, songwriter, in Forbes, August 2018

While no piece of legislation is perfect, and no single law will magically change all the problems of the music business with a stroke of a pen, efforts like the Music Modernization Act (MMA) are long overdue. As most of us know, the system of compensation to artists, songwriters, and producers for the licensing of music is convoluted and often opaque.

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SMC Benefit Concert for the #ECRBforNYC Campaign

By Nikhil P. Yerawadekar

Part of the Sound Mind Collective’s mission is to “connect independent musicians and artists with local community and encourage meaningful, positive growth through education, social justice advocacy, and creation.” Our collective is comprised of NYC-based music makers and supporters who wish to circumvent the cognitive dissonances of the music business and imbue our creative work with real meaning. We believe that our expressive work has value whether or not it’s supported by a corporate structure. We also believe that people in our communities can better their lives without propping up middleman organizations, agencies, or wealthy funders.

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Developing A Platform For Independent Musicians

By Nikhil P. Yerawadekar

Over the years I have found that no matter the genre, style or scene, working musicians in NYC from all backgrounds are able to bond over our shared experience getting a “raw deal.” From venues with amateur sound systems and engineers, to inaccurate door counts, to obnoxious audiences, to a lack of correlation between the hard work we do and the money we receive for it-- we all have a list of legitimate complaints related to how we make a living. Sometimes these complaints are unavoidable (like, for instance, not getting enough sleep on tour), and sometimes they are the result of exploitative practices that are so common, it can be difficult to imagine the music profession without them.

 
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Tax Workshop in Review

This February at MayDay Space in Brooklyn, SMC joined forces with Brass Taxes and Dima Kay, band manager for Karikatura, to present our first Tax Workshop for Freelance Musicians. The presenters covered topics including why taxes are important, record keeping (income & expenses), developing good habits, monitoring your business' performance, and making sure you save enough money to pay your taxes. Attendees of the workshop were very engaged -- we're thrilled that so many people showed up to learn and ask questions!