Over the last few years, I’m sure we’ve all heard about this thing called Net Neutrality. Right? Only problem is that we didn’t have a clue what it was and how it affected us as users of the World Wide Web.
Let’s face it. Who cares about the internet as long as it just works. We get our videos, music and the Facebook on it and we’re good to go.
My main topic of conversation around this though, is how this so called Net Neutrality impacts my business and pleasure surrounding the way I present and interact with music online.
Low and behold, on Tuesday, January 13, 2014, an appeals court in Washington DC, ruled that the Federal Communications Commission’s “net neutrality” rule, is invalid. This rule basically prevents big companies like Verizon from giving priority to certain types of internet traffic, over others.
This court ruling represents a massive “game changer” because it shifts the FCC’s current practice of requiring broadband internet providers to act as “common carriers”. In other words, under the Net Neutrality ruling, these companies had to provide service in the same way as say, a phone company would. This would prevent service providers from giving special preference to one type of service over another.
Having said that, I must now say that not too long ago, it seemed as though the internet could provide a bit more opportunity for commerce to musicians, indie record labels like my own, producers and writers. However, in a post-net neutrality game, any chance of earning income in the new music economy would be in jeopardy. Instead of earning money from sales of music and merchandise, the money would flow in the opposite direction. Not good!
It is possible that musicians and music services would be held hostage to ISPs if they wanted to continue to reach customers/fans, or, they would suffer the consequence of having their bandwidth degraded i.e. a reduction of sound quality. This would have negative connotations for our fans, as well as, we the artists.
I hate to sound overly dramatic but this looks like trouble for the music ecosystem.
Can you offer up an opinion around this situation?