OK Go have been doing fine without a major label, though, and they’re not alone. Casey Rae Hunter of the Future of Music Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, says there has been an explosion of independent musicians who can now reach their fans without a label or radio.
“In the old days, they would still have to navigate this pretty complex system of bottlenecks and gatekeepers to reach the fan,” Hunter says. “The Internet means that you can develop and cultivate these sort of one-on-one relationships. They can become viral, like as in the case of the amazing OK Go videos that you see on YouTube. Or it can be just a sort of like, ‘Holy crap, I’m talking to my favorite rock star on Twitter.’ “
But Hunter says this freewheeling environment is threatened, and that many Internet service providers, or ISPs — such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T — would like to have more control over the Internet service they provide to homes.
“Imagine logging on to your favorite band’s website and you wanted to buy something from them directly, and you were just somehow diverted to the ISP’s favorite online music store,” Hunter says.
Hunter and other consumer groups are hoping that the FCC will create network neutrality rules that would prevent the big telecoms from giving preferred service to certain content providers, while slowing down the service of others.