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Dan Beck

MPTF – A Year of Change

Dan Beck

by Dan Beck, trustee, Music Performance Trust Fund

After two decades of decline, the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) has reached the beginning of a new era of recovery and sustainability. The impact of the most recent labor agreement, between the major labels and the AFM, surfaced just weeks prior to the May 1, 2018 start of the 2018-2019 fiscal year. This provided the opportunity to expand our overall grant initiative and stabilize the trust’s operational base after so many years of deterioration.

Overall grant distribution grew more than 25% from $671,000 in the 2017-2018 campaign to $848,000 this past year. Total events funded also expanded from 1,846 to 2,161.

Our senior center events stayed steady at just more than 500 for the year and our community events maintained at more than 1,000 events. The significant area of growth occurred with our educational outreach. A special initiative to create new school programs was a huge success with the schedule nearly doubling from 251 to 477. This is a dramatic return to the traditional support the MPTF has provided in bringing music into the schools. Even with the significant number of AFM members who are educators, the efforts made by locals throughout the US and Canada was beyond our expectations.

One of our goals is to regrow and expand the geographic distribution of our grants. To that end, 11 locals that had previously not received our grants in several years came back on-board, bringing the total to 105 union locals served by our funding. Our objective is to continue this reconnection to more regions throughout North America.

As our grant budgets continue to grow in 2019-2020, our focus is to expand community events. Leveraging MPTF funds, while partnering with other community organizations and local government, can create positive economic and social change, not just for musicians, but for all. Music matters, and music has the power to create positive energy and growth through festivals and arts programs to engage neighborhoods and municipalities.

We look forward to exploring these new challenges in the coming months. For those attending the AFM Convention in Las Vegas, the MPTF staff will be on hand to discuss ideas and help identify opportunities to put our grant funds to work.


Five Years of Challenging, Rewarding Work—MPTF

Dan Beckby Dan Beck, Trustee Music Performance Trust Fund

In June of this year, I celebrated my fifth anniversary as trustee of the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF). The time has passed remarkably fast!

When the recording industry’s oversight committee approached me to consider taking the trustee position, I had virtually no knowledge of the trust fund or its initiatives. However, I quickly learned that providing supplemental employment to professional musicians, even in a small way, could impact local communities. The idea of supporting free live performances in parks and public areas, in schools, senior centers, and assisted living facilities spoke to me. Music moves our souls. It unites us. It inspires. It motivates us. The musical arts provide critical nourishment to our humanity.

New Funds Bring Hope

With all the basic goodness that the concept of the MPTF had to offer, there had been years of lament that its days were numbered. The truth was that there had been a 20-year walk-down from the golden era of MPTF grants that reached many a musician’s pockets. That steady free fall began to become more and more accepted as an inevitable tragedy. Fortunately, that was not an acceptable conclusion, and the AFM and the recording industry achieved a labor agreement that has brought a viable path for the MPTF to survive and even grow. Yes, there is a future.

However, the challenge is not just to get our grants. The challenge is to make the most of them! How does it impact your community? How does it create a greater awareness of the importance of the arts? How does it inspire others to get involved? How does the success of one event open the door to more support for the arts in your town? How can you use it as leverage to find more support for live music? How can our funding be leveraged to find new community partners who understand how powerfully live music can change communities? Our hope is that MPTF grants serve as seeds to create activism.

Share Your MPTF Events

We now have more funds to stimulate musical action. It is not the be-all and end-all, but it is a new trajectory. Yes, let’s entertain! Let’s put some extra dollars into some talented, hardworking, and deserving musicians’ pockets! And let’s use those precious funds to grow momentum and community leverage, one event at a time. Use social media. Involve the local newspaper. Invite other leaders from your communities to enjoy the free performance we provide.

The best thank you that we could receive for our grants is to see how they impact your communities. Send us pictures! Show us—not just the musicians performing—but the faces of those who are enjoying it. Show us the crowds, whether it’s 10 people or 100.

Let’s make beautiful noise together!

Dan Beck

MPTF Trustee Dan Beck Finalist for National Award

Dan BeckMusic Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) Trustee Dan Beck is a finalist in the 2017 Octicon Focus on People Awards, which honor outstanding people with hearing loss. The national competition recognizes individuals who help to change perceptions of what it means to live with hearing loss. During a 45-year career in the music industry, Beck pioneered closed captioning to music videos, working with artists including Cyndi Lauper, Michael Jackson, Pearl Jam, and more. When he stepped down as president of V2 Records, he committed to raising awareness of hearing conservation. A board member of Hearing Education Awareness for Rockers (HEAR), Beck promotes hearing awareness in musicians and speaks about hearing health to educational, healthcare, and music industry organizations.

You can read about the other two finalists and vote for the winner at: www.Oticon.com/FOP. The winner will be announced in October.

MPTF Events Showcase: The Chamber Music Society of Mississauga

By Dan Beck, Trustee Music Performance Trust Fund

Chamber Music Society of Mississauga

The target audience for the Artfull Wellness program is aging adults; people with developmental, intellectual, and/or physical disabilities ranging from mild to severe; and those with long-term illnesses.

The Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) co-sponsors hundreds of free live events annually that enrich municipalities across North America with the talents of inspiring professional musicians. It is the hard work and creative efforts of community organizations, working with AFM locals, that make these performances happen with the quality and care to make us proud. We hope to shine a light on some of our outstanding partners in the pages of the IM from time to time. This is the first installment of that series.

The Chamber Music Society of Mississauga (CMSM) is a charitable organization dedicated to presenting excellent live, small-group chamber music events that educate and inform. It strives to make these events truly enjoyable to young and old. This not-for-profit organization is located in the lakeside city of Mississauga, Ontario, a vibrant city in the Toronto metropolitan area.

CMSM seeks to inspire a love and appreciation for music and the arts in the community, especially among school-age children and their families. The organization also nurtures talent by providing enriching opportunities for professional and community musicians to perform new chamber music repertoire, and by presenting the talent of local people from other artistic disciplines.

Committed to creating a rich cultural community in Mississauga and surrounding areas, CMSM inspires musicians and artists from diverse cultural backgrounds to come together to explore and develop their talent. This means providing an opportunity and a venue for new artists.
It also means offering cultural performance programs that stimulate and intrigue new audiences to seek further classical chamber music experiences.

The organization strives to be the key art-in-education resource in the community—for schools, libraries, and children’s festivals. The organization is a valuable resource to the community’s teachers.

Chamber Music Society of Mississauga

The Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) and the Chamber Music Society of Mississauga (CMSM) collaborated on 34 performances as part of their new Artfull Wellness program for seniors and other health-challenged individuals.

This past year, the MPTF and the CMSM collaborated on 34 performances as part of their new “Artfull Wellness” program, held primarily at retirement homes and libraries. The target populations for the program are aging adults, some with dementia; people with developmental, intellectual, and/or physical disabilities ranging from mild to severe; and those with long-term illnesses. These programs are guided by the Canadian Association for Music Therapy’s standards and practices. In addition to MPTF funding, these programs receive financial support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Community Foundation of Mississauga.

Professional musicians involved in the program begin by preparing specific repertoire. Working with a registered music therapist, they design unique programs and activities that utilize common rhythm instruments. There are opportunities, not only for the audience to enjoy the aesthetic beauty of live classical music, but also to express themselves, move, play, socialize, and relax.

Few healthcare settings have the resources to independently provide a program of this calibre. Few residents, clients, and staff members have ever been this close to orchestral instruments. For some people in healthcare settings, traveling to a concert hall can be daunting due to transportation, cost, and wheelchair seating restrictions. At Artfull Wellness events, there is generally no stage and no curtain, just people invested in the common purpose of making music together, engaged and involved in their fine arts community.

The MPTF celebrates the good work of the Chamber Music Society of Mississauga and the musicians from AFM Local 149 (Toronto, ON) who make this program so very special. If you would like to learn more about Artfull Wellness and the CMSM, visit the website: www.chambermusicmississauga.org.

dan beck

MPTF – By the Numbers!

dan beckby Dan Beck, Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) Trustee

Members of the AFM recognize the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) as a long-time source of supplemental income for performances that are free to the public. Generally, those who are familiar with the trust fund know that these performances happen in parks and public places, schools, hospitals, and senior centers.

With the MPTF’s upgraded grant management system, it is now easier for us to know more about our programs. Having these capabilities can help us better articulate what it is we do and how it benefits communities, as well as professional musicians.

Over the summer of 2016, the MPTF co-sponsored nearly 1,000 free, live music events. There was a wide range of publicly accessed venues, including parks, city squares, shopping malls, theaters, block parties, and arts festivals. We participated in patriotic observances on Flag Day, Memorial Day, and July 4th. Our reach also extended to libraries, health facilities, senior centers, houses of worship, community centers, and schools. Thus far this fiscal year, the conservative estimate for total attendance at 958 events is more than 1.3 million.

This year, we began asking applicants to provide a low and high estimate of the attendance they expected at these various events. We urge everyone to provide us with realistic estimates, as it is not just the number of people who enjoy these performances, but also the personal experience these performances provide each listener. Here are some numbers to further appreciate the work of the MPTF:

We participated in 112 educational programs since May 1. The average grant was approximately $540. The estimated attendance at these events ranged from 167 to 315, on the high end. More programs are scheduled throughout the school year.

Our senior citizen events, presented under the umbrella of MusicianFest, total 290 of the 500-plus we have in the works. Estimated attendance at these events averages between 57 and 117. We project the total attendance to be well over 20,000 seniors. The average cost per date is under $220. The other 65 senior events the MPTF has co-sponsored have average attendance ranging from 85 to 145 per event, at a cost averaging $260 each. Our health facility dates were even more cost effective, averaging under $100 each, and enjoyed by an estimate of between 80 and 157 people. Our schools, medical centers, and senior centers events are more intimate musical experiences for these special audiences.

However, many of the MPTF’s events are larger community affairs. More than 100 arts festival performances this summer averaged in the low range of 295 to a high of 1,260 music lovers. Additionally, the park events we help bring to cities and towns averaged between 2,500 and 4,000 people for the nearly 500 performances we supported.

Through all the struggles the MPTF has faced over the past two decades, the important work of bringing free, live music events to the public is still moving hearts and impacting the quality of life in communities throughout North America.

dan beck

MPTF’s 2016-2017 Year Off to a Fast Start

dan beckby Dan Beck, Trustee, Music Performance Trust Fund

The Recording Industry’s Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) began its 2016-17 fiscal year May 1. The usually busy summer months of live music events, free to the public, are a tradition extending back 68 years since the MPTF was founded in 1948. The Trust Fund’s work is to enrich communities with music culture and entertainment, while providing valuable supplemental income to professional musicians across North America.

This year, we are committed to maintain our primary grant budget at the $500,000 level. Revenues have declined unabated for the past two decades, since they are based almost entirely on the sale of physical product (CDs and vinyl). However, it is our desire to support as many ongoing events as possible, due to their importance to local communities throughout the US and Canada.

The MPTF continues to focus on co-funding programs at hospitals, schools, senior centers, parks, and public locations, where free musical events educate, influence, and impact quality of life. Through nearly seven decades, the organization has provided tens of millions of dollars to enhance inspired community programs featuring the best musical talent.

The upgraded grant management system now in place continues to provide cost savings, quality control, and improved capabilities. The MPTF staff has worked with program developers to simplify the process, including reducing the need for repetitive input. Our grant managers will be attending the AFM’s 100th Convention to demonstrate the system and answer questions on how best to use it. We invite you to visit us at our booth in Las Vegas in June!

Despite the declining revenue, the MPTF implemented a new senior center initiative this past year called MusicianFest. Thanks to a grant from The Film Funds, we were able to initiate more than 600 free senior center performances in the US and Canada. The National Council on Aging’s National Institute of Senior Centers oversees the request applications from senior centers across the country. The MPTF then solicits AFM locals for their ability to fulfill those requests and provides the funding to pay the musicians. This year a budget of $100,000 has been established, above the regular Trust Fund grant budget allocation, to make this program work.

While the grant levels are a challenge and a draw on the MPTF’s reserves, we have continued to reduce overhead costs every year. Those efforts, and their impact, can only last for a limited time before more radical efforts will be required to maintain the Trust Fund’s involvement in supporting live music and the musicians who perform it.

While our grants support a wide range of citizenry, they are most felt by professional musicians. The value of the MPTF to musicians themselves will ultimately determine the future of our efforts.   

The Music Performance Trust Fund — Get the Picture!

MPTFby Dan Beck, Trustee, Music Performance Trust Fund

If you have ever heard me speak about the mission of the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF), you might remember that I invariably request photos, whenever possible, from the events that we co-sponsor. I am sure that, on the surface, it sounds quaint and nice that the MPTF wants to have a collection of memories or that we are looking for some added proof that the event actually happened.

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MPTF Gears Up to Build Success Through Momentum in 2015

by Dan Beck, Trustee, Music Performance Trust Fund

The Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) begins the new calendar year with continued awareness that we clearly share the same challenges that the rest of the creative music community faces. We pursue these challenges with new goals to maximize the opportunities that are available. Our mission remains to provide supplemental work for professional musicians, and at the same time, provide meaningful and inspiring free performances that culturally benefit people in towns and cities across North America.

As there remains constant pressure on our revenue, we have dedicated our efforts to reduce our costs, create efficiencies, and search for new avenues of support that improve and positively impact our ability to provide music performance grants. Over the past year, we have been developing a new grant management software system that will save overhead costs, provide greater insights and grant history information, and ultimately create an easier process for everyone involved. However, it requires some learning and repetitive input that we are confident our software provider will improve over time. Everyone using the system will discover improvements that have already been implemented.

Many of the performances we co-sponsor are perennial events. Traditional annual 4th of July concerts, a kick-off for an opera season, and the celebration of the music of Broadway, highlight the more than 2,100 musical partnerships that we shared in our past fiscal year. Our highest priority is to protect these traditional events that mean so much to the vibrancy of local culture.

We recognize that live music has an even deeper meaning beyond entertainment. The MPTF is dedicated to the fundamental importance of music education. Connecting professional musicians to school programs inspires cultural fiber, while it illuminates possibilities for students. It stimulates generational interaction and validates a commitment to excellence and cultural values.

As we partner with school programs, educators, and local musicians, we are reaching out to other like-minded organizations to find new strength for our efforts, not only in the search for increased resources, but for the potential impact of natural synergies. What could be more fulfilling than to work together to inspire young people to appreciate, enjoy, and participate in a musical experience?

Similarly, we are dedicated to the enormous value of musical performances to our older populous. Research demonstrates the emotional and cognitive benefits that a musical performance can provide to a small audience in an assisted living facility. I have heard countless stories from musicians who were humbled by the power of their performances to reach through isolation and bring renewed joy and life in these settings.

This important musical outreach needs to be advocated and deserves enthusiastic leadership. We hope to shoulder more of that responsibility. We are finding the support to dramatically expand our efforts in this critical area as well. I expect the MPTF to be able to offer new support through additional restricted grants in the near future.

Whether it is a big orchestral performance or a small solo event that we support, we do want something in return for our grants. We know that we inevitably get musical excellence and passionate art. That remains a very unique outcome of our grants!

Our challenge is to get the most from our co-sponsors in attracting an audience, impacting the community, spreading media awareness, and giving us the tools to expand the word about the value of these events. As the old adage goes, if a tree falls in the forest, does anyone hear it? If a musician performs brilliantly with free-access for all, what effort was made to assure there was the largest possible audience? What effort was made afterwards to make sure as many people as possible knew this event happened? When the good is promoted, greater support is possible. Leadership is about creating this momentum; momentum builds success.

We know the New Year comes with challenges. However, we look to 2015 with hope and optimism. That hope and optimism is guided by the confidence that we are committed to the work it takes to make our grants effective at the highest level possible. We look forward to sharing that challenge with the musicians and local organizations who partner with us in the year ahead. Let’s build some momentum together … and success will find us.