Indie Music

FCC Votes 3-2 To Approve New Net Neutrality Rules, Music Industry Applauds

Net-neutrality-21In a contentious meeting yesterday morning, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to adopt new Net Neutrality rules, preserving a fair and open internet. 

If you're still wondering what net neutrality means and how this effects you, you're not alone. NPR's Elise Hu provided a bit of clarity in layman's terms: "Net Neutrality is the concept that your Internet provider should be a neutral gateway to everything on the Internet, not a gatekeeper deciding to load some sites slower than others or impose fees for faster service."

Net_NeutralityThe FCC has voted to reclassify broadband access as a "telecommunications service under Title II", giving them the ability to regulate Internet Service Providers – ensuring fair and open use of the internet. Without these rules in place, the loophole allowing larger corporations to pays ISPs to up their traffic and the speed of their sites would have remained open.

Good News For The Music Industry

Yesterday's FCC ruling is especially good news for the music industry. The internet, having changed how artists interact with, reach, and grow their audiences tremendously and permanently, has become a the primary source of communication and continued interaction for fans and musicians alike. Upholding Net Neutrality means that musicians will retain the ability to have fair access to the online marketplace without paying heavy tolls to ISP giants. 

Future of Music Coalition CEO Casey Rae made the following statement:

“This is an incredible moment for so many artists and independent labels who fought to preserve an open and accessible Internet for almost a decade. Creators of all political persuasions and backgrounds embody the very spirit of what net neutrality supporters have sought to achieve in this fight: the ability to compete on a level playing field without discrimination from just a few powerful ISPs. This historic day is a testament to what can be achieved when the creative community comes together with a diverse array of advocates and activists to stand up for free expression and entrepreneurship. We are proud and grateful to see the results of principled and sustained engagement on an issue that will shape the future of music for generations to come." 

The new Net Neutrality rules solicited an audible sigh from the independent music sector. Historically, independent artists have operated at a considerable disadvantage sans the support of a major label, but the preservation of an open online marketplace means the somewhat leveling of the playing field that open internet has allowed them to become accustomed to isn't going anywhere. 

A2IM President Rich Bengloff released this statement in reaction to yesterday's historic vote:

"We thank Chairman Wheeler and the Commissioners for voting to implement aggressive Net Neutrality rules applying to lawful content, including reclassifying broadband traffic as a Title II utility to prohibit providers from favoring content distributed by the largest companies with the deepest pockets."

The full FCC Fact Sheet provides further details, but three things that will be banned under the Net Neutrality rules are:

"No Blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.

"No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.

"No Paid Prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration — in other words, no 'fast lanes.' This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates."

To FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, to the musicians who rallied together, and to John Oliver, who broke the FCC's website with his effective call to action, we salute you. 

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