Feeling a bit of déjà vu? You may have thought net neutrality was settled following our historic February 2015 victory, when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued light-touch rules to protect creators, small businesses and Internet users. But Big Telecom still has a dog in this fight, and it’s a big dog with lots and lots of money.
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.
By Griffin Davis, Communications Intern & Kevin Erickson, Communications Associate
A diverse array of musicians and a wide range of prominent arts and culture organizationshave already stood up in support of real net neutrality. If you’re interested in adding your voice to the chorus, here’s some good news: you now have a little extra time.
That’s because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced an extension to its deadline for public comments. Last month, as the initial period for comments was coming to a close, the volume of comments was so intense—by far the most responses to an FCC rulemaking docket ever, as Craig Aaron of Free Press points out—that the FCC servers crashed repeatedly, and the agency was forced to extend the deadline by several days.
Now, because they want to give as much time for the next phase of the process as was originally promised, they’ve extended the reply comments period as well, until Monday, September 15. Here’s what you need to know.
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
I believe the music industry - and specifically the indie music industry - ignores net neutrality at its peril. Losing net neutrality means losing the so-called equal playing field on the internet. What happens to the independent industry is barriers to entry go digital? In any case, Future of Music Coalition does an excellent job of breaking down the Google-Verizon proposal, especially the possibility of tiered internet service in the mobile realm - check it out.
Google and YouTube would apparently be limited to the ‘public’ internet, and mobile broadband falls outside the purview of the proposal. Opposing groups immediately questioned whether the private internet would start to crowd an underfunded, ignored public internet. And what does this mean for artists? Comments are just trickling in, though Future of Music Coalition policy strategist Casey Rae-Hunter pointed to the need for greater regulatory backbone and definition - not a handshake between private companies. “There is some question about how the so-called ‘public internet’ would continue to grow and develop alongside the ‘additional online services’ hinted at in the proposal,” Rae-Hunter offered.
If the FCC does not establish clear rules on net neutrality without “fast lane” exemptions, which lane will music tech innovators be allowed to travel in? “There is also some question about how the so-called ‘public internet’ - described in today’s Verizon-Google conference call - would continue to grow and develop alongside the ‘additional online services’ hinted at in the proposal,” says Casey Rae-Hunter, Communications Director and Policy Strategist for Future of Music Coalition. “Today’s events serve to further highlight the need for an appropriate regulatory framework that would clarify what is and isn’t acceptable online.