Creativity in music is also under assault. Prior to the 1980s, cities had a smorgasbord of music to choose from when stations were not part of some giant conglomerate. Stations competed for listeners and new musical styles could emerge when the playing field was level. Compare that to today’s music scene which is controlled by a very small number of giant corporations. You can drive the width of this country and listen to the same play list repeated in every town. It’s all preprogrammed in a central location and local stations just send out the signals. And if you think bad music is the only consequence of this system, go back and read about the chemical spill in Minot, Mont. in 2002. Since all the stations were owned by a single company, and all were broadcasting the national feed, there was not one single disc jockey on duty to help issue evacuation orders to the people of Minot.
But now it seems the Obama administration has changed course. The Guardian has said proposed FCC rules to allow wealthy corporations to exploit the fastest parts of the Internet would “axe murder net neutrality.” The ACLU claims that “barriers to innovation will rise, the marketplace of ideas on the Internet will be constrained, and consumers will ultimately pay the price.” Casey Rae of The Future of Music Coalition warns that “the Internet will be carved into a fast lane for well-heeled corporations and dirt road for the rest of us.”