Become a .MUSIC Community Reseller Apply Now


The ICANN Applicant Guidebook criteria for maximum points for “Delineation” requires a “clearly delineated, organized, and pre-existing community.”

The “Music” Community as described in .MUSIC’s Application is a “clearly delineated, organized, and pre-existing community.” The common interest shared by the community described by .MUSIC is the “promotion and distribution of legal music.”


.MUSIC’s supporting Music Community Member Organizations (MCMOs) are:

  • A logical alliance of recognized and relevant community organization;
  • Of a similar nature relating to the legal distribution and promotion of music aligned with .MUSIC’s Mission; and
  • With clear and straight-forward membership criteria for their members with high level, formal boundaries. These memberships, some of which are fee-based, give members benefits and privileges

“Music” Community is Pre-Existing and Organized

The “music” Community pre-existed and was organized before September 2007. The Music Community’s activities are organized in many globally-recognized classification systems. Examples include:

The Music Community also created common, shared standards and systems to organize, standardize and enable efficient distribution of legal music. Examples include:

  • The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC), the international identification system for “music” – namely sound recordings and music video recordings – known as the ISO 3901 standard. The standard was codified in 1986. Each ISRC is a unique and permanent music identifier for a specific music recording and used in digital commerce by music download sites and collecting societies providing the means to automatically identify music for the purpose of royalty payments to music rights-holders (
  • The International Standard Musical Work Code (ISWC), a unique identifier for musical works which was adopted as international standard ISO 15707 in 2001. The ISWC organizes and identifies a musical work as a unique intangible creation (
  • The Global Release Identifier (See GRid,, a system organizing and identifying digital music releases for electronic distribution. GRid is integrated with identification systems deployed by the music community.
  • The International Standard Music Number (ISMN), a unique number for organizing and identifying printed music (notated music publications) internationally ( based on the ISO 10957 standard published in 1993.

Clear and Straight-Forward Membership Criteria

Some community clear and straight-forward membership examples include:

In the context of the Community Priority Evaluation, .MUSIC’s recognized supporting Music Community Member Organizations ( have:

  1. Clear and straight-forward membership;
  2. Are relevant to the string;
  3. Represent a significant portion of that community i.e “demonstrable community support”

Community is Organized with Documented Evidence of Activities

Supporting Music Community Member Organizations (MCMOs) and .MUSIC all have documented evidence of activities with a high level of awareness and recognition. For example:

  • .MUSIC engaged in a plethora of awareness activities (“Outreach”) for more than half a decade ( .MUSIC has sponsored relevant events and made public speaking engagements at the most relevant conferences at a global level in both the music and domain space. .MUSIC has been mentioned in the media (mainstream and non-mainstream press, including all relevant music publications and popular music blogs), and has created significant awareness both offline and online through our social media, the .MUSIC petition and other marketing campaigns. .MUSIC also represented and administered 11 community objections filed against music-themed applicants for .music, .song, .tunes and .band with the International Chamber of Commerce. ( Objections were of reasoned nature and aligned with the .MUSIC Mission relating to protecting intellectual property and fighting piracy (i.e opposition to “open” music-themed strings lacking appropriate enhanced safeguards)  and ensuring music-themed strings follow a multi-stakeholder approach and are not anti-competitive or exclude a significant portion of the community.
  • The International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA) is the global network of arts councils and ministries of culture ( with activities and mission focused on improving the capacity and effectiveness of government arts funding agencies to benefit society through networking, advocacy and research.
  • The Canadian Independent Music Association is the national trade association representing the Canadian-owned sector of the music industry. CIMA actively monitors government legislation, analyzes the impact of current and proposed policies and programs, and voices our members’ concerns in these areas (

What is the Music Community?

Research by distinguished music community expert Dr. Kay Kaufman Shelemay (, a Harvard professor of Music, clearly articulated the definition and nexus of the music community (Kay Kaufman Shelemay, G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music, Ethnomusicology, “Musical Communities: Rethinking the Collective in Music” /, 2013) with the common interest of “sharing music with others.” (Kay Kaufman Shelemay, personal communication, September 4, 2013) The word “community,” derived from Latin, has been in use in English since the 14th century, but did not acquire present-day local associations until the 20th century (Raymond Williams, “Community.” In Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, revised ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983, “Community,” in Keywords, 75–76, 1983). The Oxford English Dictionary defines community first and foremost as a collectivity, that is, “a body of people or things viewed collectively” (“Community, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press,, 2010).

The genesis of the study of “Community” is generally dated to the work of the German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies (1855–1936), who theorized a distinction between Gemeinschaft (a community based on individual social relationships) and Gesellschaft (civil society) (Source: Ferdinand Tönnies, “Community and Civil Society”, Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, Pg.17, 2001). By the second half of the twentieth century, interests moved to exploring communities as sites of identity (Source: Barth, Fredrik, ed. Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture Difference; Results of a Symposium Held at the University of Bergen 23rd to 26th of February 1967. Scandinavian University Books. Bergen: Universitetsforlaget; and London: Allen & Unwin, 1969. Ethnic Groups and Boundaries; Aronson, “Ethnicity as a Cultural System”; and Gleason, “Identifying Identity: A Semantic History.”). A landmark study by Adelaida Reyes Schramm considered the construction of both formally and informally constituted performing groups (Source: Schramm, Adelaida Reyes. “Ethnic Music, the Urban Area, and Ethnomusicology,” Sociologus 29 (1979): 1–21. “The Role of Music in the Interaction of Black Americans and Hispanos in New York City’s East Harlem.” PhD diss., Columbia University, 1975). Many different studies define the term “community” in new and creative ways, such as a study of a “phonic community,” including studying ethnic differences through analyzing “the sound of the community” and the ways in which community members “come to ‘recognize’ each other” through noise-creating voices (Source: Alleyne, Brian. “An Idea of Community and Its Discontents: Towards a More Reflexive Sense of Belonging in Multicultural Britain.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 25, no. 4 (2002): 607–27. See also Noy, Chaim. A Narrative Community. Voices of Israeli Backpackers. Raphael Patai Series in Jewish Folklore and Anthropology. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 151–52, 2007) i.e a clear and straightforward community membership is not a requirement to identify with a community.

Concepts of “community” have been subject to a changing intellectual landscape. Benedict Anderson sought to define an elusive complex of terms – nation, nationality, nationalism – as “cultural artifacts of a particular kind” (Source: Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. 1983. Revised ed. London: Verso, Pg 3–4, 1991). Anderson proposed that a community is to be distinguished, not by its falsity/genuineness (i.e a clear and straightforward community membership is not needed), but by the style in which it is imagined, conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship (Source: Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. 1983. Revised ed. London: Verso, Pg 6-7, 1991). Anderson’s suggestion that all communities may be imagined has had a continued prominence in ethnomusicology which has resonated among music historians (Source: Anderson’s theoretical influence on recent ethnomusicological work includes Frishkopf, Michael. “Introduction: Music and Media in the Arab World and Music and Media in the Arab World as Music and Media in the Arab World: A Metadiscourse,”Pg 22-23, 2010; and Sugarman, Jane C. “Building and Teaching Theory in Ethnomusicology: A Response to Rice.” Ethnomusicology 54 (2010): 341–44; In historical musicology, see Celenza, Anna Harwell. “Imagined Communities Made Real: The Impact of Robert Schumann’s Neue Zeitschrift für Musik on the Formation of Music Communities in the Mid- Nineteenth Century.” Journal of Musicological Research 24 (2005): Pg 1–26).

Relevant work by Anthony P. Cohen urged to understand “community” not as a structure to be defined and described, but as a mode of experience that has meaning to people who consider themselves to be part of it (Source: Cohen, Anthony P. The Symbolic Construction of Community. Chichester, UK: Ellis Horwood; and London and New York: Tavistock Publications, Pg 19–20, 1985.). According to Cohen, a community is “a matter of feeling, a matter which resides in the minds of the members themselves” and is based on sharing of particular symbols, such as ritual orders or, for our purposes, musical performance (Source: Cohen, Anthony P. The Symbolic Construction of Community. Chichester, UK: Ellis Horwood; and London and New York: Tavistock Publications, Pg 21, 1985.). In this way, Cohen disputed one of the key concepts of the social sciences, the notion of a community as fixed in time and place, and described it instead as “a largely mental construct” (Source: Cohen, Anthony P. The Symbolic Construction of Community. Chichester, UK: Ellis Horwood; and London and New York: Tavistock Publications, Pg 108, 1985).

These studies also align with historical work by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (Source: Hobsbawm, Eric. “Introduction: Inventing Traditions.” In The Invention of Tradition, 1–14. Cambridge University Press, 1983) referring to the “community” as an invented tradition taken to mean a set of practices, normally governed by overtly or tacitly accepted rules and of a ritual or symbolic nature, which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behavior by repetition (without the need of a clear and straightforward community membership), which automatically implies continuity with the past (Source: Hobsbawm, Eric. “Introduction: Inventing Traditions.” In The Invention of Tradition, 1–2. Cambridge University Press, 1983).

Drawing on the work of Edward Said, as well as the notion of scene as advanced by Barry Shanks, Will Straw defined the music community as a music scene, a “cultural space in which a range of musical practices coexist, interacting with each other within a variety of processes of differentiation, and according to widely varying trajectories of change and cross-fertilization” (Source: Said, Edward W. “Figures, Configurations, Transfigurations.” Race & Class 32 (1990): 1–16; Shanks, Barry. “Transgressing the Boundaries of a Rock ’n’ Roll Community,” 1988; and Will Straw, “Systems of Articulation, Logics of Change: Communities and Scenes in Popular Music.” Cultural Studies 5, Pg 373, 1991). According to Straw the music “community” – where disruption and fragmentation of cultures co-exist – is associated with imaginary unities which underlie it (Source: Will Straw, “Systems of Articulation, Logics of Change: Communities and Scenes in Popular Music.” Pg 369, 1991).

In sociological literature, the word “scene” is discussed as a substitute rubric for “community” in attempting to explain “the significance of music in everyday life” (Source: Andy Bennett, “Consolidating the Music Scenes,” Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media and the Arts 32, Pg 224, 2004). The concept of community constitutes people involved in music making, while at the same time sustaining the secondary notion of community by describing an ideology of bonding expressed through music, generating a shared sense of belonging (Source: Andy Bennett, “Consolidating the Music Scenes,” Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media and the Arts 32, Pg 224, 2004).

Music is created to be communicated and shared with others in the community. According to Eduard Hanslick – considered the father of modern music criticism – music is composed of melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre and silence in a particular structure (Source: Eduard Hanslick, The Beautiful in Music, , 1854). Musical meaning is presentative and it is the notion of personal involvement (not a formal membership) which lends significance to the word ordered in this definition of music” (Source: Clifton, Thomas, Music as Heard: A Study in Applied Phenomenology, Yale University Press, P.3-4, 1983). Music communicates to its community in the form of a combination of sounds and silences and in most cases lyrics (in different languages) in the same manner that linguistic communities communicate through language (their common interest), or religious communities through religious beliefs (their common interest). In a similar token to language, music is one focused on expression and emotion (Source: Justin London, Musical Expression and Musical Meaning in Context, Carleton College,

According to Chris Dobrian “the oft-quoted poetical statement that “music is the universal language of mankind” (Source: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Music is the universal language of mankind,” Outre-Mer: A Pilgrimage Beyond the Sea 1835) is indicative of the communicative quality of music. Because music is a stimulus to our sense of hearing, it is clear that music can, and inevitably does, convey information” (Source: Chris Dobrian, Music and Language,, 1992). According to studies, music is considered the “universal language” (Source: Study by Daniel Abrams (Stanford University), In Brain Scans, Music Is A Universal Language,, 2013; Science Daily, “Language Of Music Really Is Universal, Study Finds”,, Authors include Thomas Fritz, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany; Sebastian Jentschke, UCL Institute of Child Health, London, UK; Nathalie Gosselin, Universite´ de Montreal, Montreal, Canada; Daniela Sammler, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany; Isabelle Peretz, Universite´ de Montreal, Montreal, Canada; Robert Turner, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany; Angela D. Friederici, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany; and Stefan Koelsch, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany, University of Sussex, Falmer, UK, 2009) and a “total social fact” (Source: Jean Molino, “Fait musical et sémiologue de la musique”, Musique en Jeu, no. 17, P.37, 1975) i.e the music community focused on culture and society.

Music has certainly been used in the service of all varieties of the social imagination. Music often impels the formation of collectivities by the strength of its ability to communicate to listeners. It carries emotional meaning and establishes what have been termed “audible entanglements,” rendering “audible and visible specific constituencies, and imaginations of longing and belonging” (Source: Jocelyne Guilbault,“Audible Entanglements: Nation and Diasporas in Trinidad’s Calypso Music Scene.” Small Axe, no. 17, Pg 40, 2005. Music can generate a sense of shared identity that may be transitory or that may be part of a process that reinforces belonging to a collectivity of longer duration. The more transitory aspect of music’s power, commonly termed communitas after its formative use by anthropologist Victor Turner, is less my subject here, but I do wish to propose that music’s ability to generate social bonding is an important aspect of performance’s centrality to communities of longer duration as well. For a lengthy exposition by Turner on various categories of communitas he set forth based on both ethnographic and historical data, see Turner, Victor. “Communitas: Model and Process”. In The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. 1969. Reprint, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, Pg  131–65, 1977. The impact of music on social bonding has, as noted above, recently engaged scientific attention, an emerging field that will be discussed in the conclusion.). A music community does not require the presence of conventional structural elements (such as a clear and straightforward community membership) nor must it be anchored in a single place, although both structural and local elements may assume importance at points in the process of community formation as well as in its on-going existence. Rather, a music community is a social entity, an outcome of a combination of social and musical processes, rendering those who participate in making or listening to music aware of a connection among themselves” (Source: Implicit to this definition is the proposal that processes of community formation are generated and sustained in part through musical performance. Here I find relevant Christopher Small’s suggestion that we render music as a verb: “To music is to take part, in any capacity, in a musical performance, whether by performing, by listening, by rehearsing or practicing, by providing material for performance (what is called composing), or by dancing”; See Small, Christopher. Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening. Music/Culture. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press; and Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, Pg. 9, 1998. Small’s broad notion of the act of “musicking,” takes into account its social dimension, including “all the activities that affect the nature of that event which is a performance,” 11).

Andy Bennett, an expert in music community and music culture, explains “Community” (Source: Andy Bennett, “Consolidating the Music Scenes Perspective,” Department of Sociology, School of Human Sciences, University of Surrey,, Section 1.1 Community, P.2, 2004. Bennett published articles on aspects of youth culture, popular music and local identity in a number of journals including British Journal of Sociology, Sociology, Sociological Review, Media Culture and Society and Popular Music. He is author of Popular Music and Youth Culture: Music, Identity and Place (2000, Macmillan) and Cultures of Popular Music (2001, Open University Press) and co-editor of Guitar Cultures (2001, Berg), After Subculture (Palgrave, 2004) and Music Scenes (Vanderbilt University Press, 2004):

“A forerunner of scene as a means of explaining the significance of music in everyday contexts was ‘community’. Community has been applied to music in two main ways. First, as a means of accounting for the way in which locally produced music become a means through which individuals are able to situate themselves within a particular city, town or region. As Lewis notes ‘People look to specific music as symbolic anchors in regions, as signs of community, belonging, and a shared past’ (Source: Lewis George H., Who do you love?: The dimensions of musical taste, in: Lull J. (Ed.), Popular Music and Communication, second ed. Sage, London, 1992, 144). This point is reinforced by Dawe and Bennett, who suggest that: ‘Music is a particularly potent representational resource … a means by which communities are able to identify themselves and present this identity to others’ (Source: Dawe Kevin, Bennett Andy, Introduction: guitars, people and places, in: Bennett A., Dawe K. (Eds.), Guitar Cultures. Berg, Oxford, 2001, 4). From this point of view, a shared connection with a locally created musical style becomes a metaphor for community, a means through which people articulate their sense of togetherness through a particular juxtaposition of music, identity and place.”

Another application of community to musical life focuses on the significance of community as a romantic construct, that is, as a means through which individuals who lack the commonality of shared local experience can cast music itself as a ‘way of life’ and a basis for community. As Frith observes: ‘Community became something that was created by the music that described the musical experience’ (Source: Frith, Simon, The magic that can set you free: the ideology of folk and the myth of rock. Popular Music 1, 159–168, 1981, 167). A similar sensibility of community is apparent in the use of music as a bonding device for followers of music. According to Fonarow, central to music is ‘an emotional feeling of community and connectedness’ between musicians and their audiences (Source: Fonarow Wendy, The spatial organisation of the Indie music gig, in: Gelder K., Thornton S. (Eds.), The Subcultures Reader. Routledge, London, 1997, 364).

There are many viewpoints and definitions relating to the definition word “community” which could be considered:

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO),  a specialized agency of the United Nations, defines “community” and sorts it according to types:

“There are three types of communities: Geographic Community or a Neighborhood, Community of Identity, Community of Interest or Solidarity.”

UNESCO identifies “music” as a Community of Identity (not one that needs a clear and straightforward membership) implying common identifiable characteristics (See “Nexus”) such as having in common a culture such as music.

Community of Identity “implies common identifiable characteristics or attributes such as having in common a culture. By culture we mean: language, music, religion and customs.” (Source: UNESCO, Understanding the Community,, Pg 3-5).

Comparison of 3 distinct Communities: The Music, ICANN and Christian Communities

The “ICANN community”, a “Christian community” or a “Music community.” All three communities are commonly known and share similar organizational, functional and structural elements:

  •  Christian Community: The Christian community, bound by the common interest of Christian religion and values, is similar to the music community since it also encompasses “sub-communities” or “sub-cultures” within its main word that identifies the community. These “sub-communities” or “sub-cultures” in the Christian community are called denominations. These denominations include Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Lutheran and so forth.
  • Music Community: In the music community “sub-communities” or “sub-cultures” are called genres. These include pop, rock, hip hop, dance, country and so forth. Music genres also include religious genres (e.g Christian music) or cultural/language-based (e.g Irish music). The music community does share common interests (sharing music – distribution and promotion) and follows a common structure for fulfilling those common interests (e.g how music is distributed, performed and marketed).
  • ICANN Community: The ICANN community also includes “sub-cultures” or “sub-communities” with the common interest of preserving security, stability and resiliency of the DNS and promoting competition, consumer trust and consumer choice (common interest shared). These include different constituent groups representing diverse interests (akin to music sub-communities/genres or Christian denominations) such as GAC, ALAC, SSAC, IETF, CCNSO, TLG, RSSAC and other groups such as the NTAG and CTAG. A “sub-community” group such as the GNSO also has other “sub-communities” called constituency groups, such as the IPC or the NCSG.

Just in the case of the Christian community or ICANN community – both commonly recognized by the public and their corresponding community – the Music Community does not require formal membership. There is no certification or membership requirement to be a Christian community member or an ICANN community member. However, formal “memberships” of some sort exist in all communities at the top of the hierarchal ladder. For example, the Christian Catholic religion has formal members with voting rights to elect, for example, the Pope. In the ICANN community, while participation to be considered as part of the ICANN community is not a requirement, elected ICANN Board members are selected by formal ICANN community members with voting powers. The same pertains to the music community. Music associations representing “sub-community” interests – such as the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies – have formal members and represent interests of that particular “sub-community” relating to music (arts councils and government ministries) (Source: or in the case of the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) representing the interests of the Canadian Independent Music Community, with formal members including music labels, music promoters, music managers, music producers, music distributors, music lawyers and so forth (

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This