You may have heard about “Binge On”—a way for T-Mobile subscribers with 3 gigabyte data caps to watching online video without worrying about blowing past their data limit and being hit with sizable overage charges. Sounds awesome, huh? Perhaps for some, but the program has nevertheless been criticized due to the fact that certain apps were binge-able and others were not. As we previously pointed out with another T-Mobile program, “Music Freedom,” this establishes a troubling precedent for consumers who want to be able to use their preferred apps to access legitimate, licensed content without being penalized for doing so. Such plans, while consumer-friendly on the surface, also impact developers who may find their products and services in the penalty box for no discernable reason.
Even more troubling are reports that T-Mobile is not only excluding certain video services—they’re also throttling non-Binge On video across the board, even for subscribers with unlimited data plans. So if you’re a T-Mobile customer who wants to check out a band’s Pledge Music video to decide whether you want to plunk down to support their upcoming record, you might end up watching a spinning wheel instead. If you’re hoping to take in an exclusive live concert from your favorite singer-songwriter on your tablet while on the bus, you probably won’t have much luck.
The Internet is too important to creators to allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T to pick winners and losers online. Artists of all backgrounds rely on the Internet to reach audiences, build businesses and exercise their rights to free speech. Without basic rules of the road preventing ISPs from favoring content from big money cronies over everyday creators and Internet users, artists and fans will lose.read more
On September 15, 2014, Future of Music Coalition submitted the following reply comments in the FCC’s public docket on Promoting and Protecting the Open Internet. Our comments are in direct response to those filed by telecommunications and cable companies in the initial phase of this proceeding.
Remember that little thing called net neutrality that FMC and our musician and independent label pals have been talking about for years? Well, this week AT&T made a move that underscores why this principle is so important to creators.
Part one of a series by FMC Policy Fellow Rachel Allen
In the past few years, streaming music and video have changed the way artists connect with fans. Popular music services such as Spotify and Pandora, high-quality video sites like Vevo, and a number of other digital platforms and applications have been important tools for fans to discover music and for artists to get paid for their work (even if the business models aren’t uniformly agreed upon). Recent studies have found that applications for music comprise the fastest growing activity among mobile phone users. Moreover, artists like Jay Z and Lady Gaga, as well as smaller acts such as Dan Deacon, are using mobile applications to create new interactive music experiences (but as was the case with Jay Z, not all of these experiments are embraced).
Why do we bring this up now? Well, streaming music and video services would not be possible without access to high-speed broadband. However, as the music and video industries go mobile, the price and quality of connections has become more and more uncertain.
This series will explore how the evolution of the Internet impacts musicians and other creators—whether the connection is on a desktop, a laptop or a mobile device. We’ll explore the ins and outs of how artists connect, and why accessible technology platforms are essential to today’s creative entrepreneurs.
Readers of this blog are probably familiar with the concept of “net neutrality” and why it matters to musicians. But let us remind you anyway.
All of the amazing internet tools that musicians and music entrepreneurs use every day are a result of the open internet, which gives anyone a license to innovate. Without basic protections to preserve this dynamic, the internet we know and love could become extinct. We’ve seen that movie before: just look at commercial broadcast radio to see what happens when just a few powerful companies control access to audiences and what content is even available. read more
AT&T spared no expense in 2011 when it sought government approval of its $39 billion deal to acquire T-Mobile. The merger would have created a duopoly, leaving AT&T and Verizon in control of nearly 80 percent of the wireless market.
AT&T would then have been able to set higher prices, at a cost to people on modest incomes who depend on their cell phones to connect with work, family, and the details of modern life. read more
Washington, D.C.— The following statement can be attributed to Casey Rae-Hunter, Deputy Director of Future of Music Coalition.
“Since AT&T first announced its intent to acquire T-Mobile, Future of Music Coalition has steadily raised concerns about what the mega-merger would mean for the creative community — particularly musicians who increasingly rely on affordable access to mobile broadband platforms to reach audiences and advance their careers. read more