Groups such as the Future of Music Coalition, an organization advocating on behalf of musicians, believes a web that isn’t net neutral will end up hurting independent artists and impede the development of the internet. “Artists need access to this platform. It’s how they relate to their fans,” said Casey Rae-Hunter, FMC Communications Director in a recent interview. “We knew if the platform was open we would see innovation.” Hunter points to the success of indie rock bands like Okay Go, who have used the web to cultivate a loyal fan base. Music sites like Pandora are examples of what can occur when artists and innovators are given the chance to compete on a level playing field.
Without the reassurance that a robust regulator is preventing service providers from steering or otherwise interfering with web traffic, people like Hunter fear the Internet may tend towards favoring major label artists and ultimately marginalizing indie acts.
“(Maybe) Lady Gaga could cut a deal with an ISP but I can’t,” said Hunter, also a working musician.