So what’s up with this whole internet business? Good question! Unfortunately, there’s not a clear answer at the moment.
Currently, there’s a lot of speculation about if, how, where and when policymakers might act to preserve the open internet. Will it happen at the FCC through a public rulemaking process? Does there need to be a new approach to regulation in the light of recent court outcomes? Should the FCC conduct behind-the-scenes conversations with stakeholders like ISPs and web services, or stick with the public process? Should Congress step in and clarify the FCC’s authority? What’s the deal with this supposed “private deal” between Google/Verizon? Where does it all go from here?
All of this intrigue can make even grizzled policy veterans dizzy. So let’s get back to why we care (and why we think you should, too).
For as long as Future of Music Coalition has existed — a full decade this year! — we’ve said that the open internet is crucial to musicians’ ability to reach fans and advance their careers. We firmly believe that any artist, big or small, should be allowed to compete in a legitimate digital music marketplace right alongside the biggest companies.
Notice that we said “legitimate digital music marketplace.” Remember, net neutrality — the principle that protects the open internet — applies only to lawful content, sites and services. We want artists to get paid for their work — we’re musicans and fans ourselves! But we also want creators to have a shot at reaching potential audiences. Clear and enforceable rules of the road for the web are important to the establishment of business models that fairly compensate creators. We’re committed to a future where musicians can earn a living making the music we love, and we’re not just waiting around for it to happen — we’re making it happen.
We started the Rock the Net campaign in 2007 to highlight just how important it is that the internet remains open to musicians, particularly independent artists and labels. Because we’ve been around long enough to have seen what the opposite looks like (it’s called consolidated commercial radio).
This fundamental view is shared by of Rock the Net supporting artists big and small. From R.E.M. to Erin McKeown to Dead Prez’ stic.man to Kronos Quartet, we’ve been overwhelmed by the level of musician support for the open internet. They’ve testified before Congress, filed comments at the FCC and performed concerts to raise awareness about net neutrality.
We want to take a moment to thank each and every one of the literally thousands of musicians and independent labels who have stood strong on this crucial issue. Your creativity and commitment is truly inspiring.
Even though things are a bit wacky at the moment, we think it’s gonna work out just fine. So keep those chins up and amps cranked, and we’ll keep fighting for artist access and compensation.