Net Neutrality, the Musician and the Music Lover or Music Buyer - What gives?
The Usa Government voted to repel the act of Net Neutrality the date being 14th December, 2017.
If you already know of this, and its implications then please move on.
For those of you who are not familiar with the term that is Net neutrality. Here is the definition.
Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.
Well what might well happen viathe repeal of these laws is that Internet Service Providers (aka ISP’S) could follow a course of action - whereby they allow larger organisations/companies with a bigger financial clout. In allowing their Internet traffic/networks to go through largely unhindered.
Whereas smaller companies or organisations will be throttled; or be put through a slower lane or network if they do not pay the additional fee.
Worse still, they could be downright vindictiveand block outright any content provided by a rival company.
These scenarios mentioned above are not a certainty, but they could come to fruition if the Internet Service Providers (IPS) were to go for the jugular.
“It feels like a slippery slope to allow the big cable and internet companies to decide how fast your internet should be,” says Tony Van Veen, CEO of AVL Digital Group, the parent-company of CD Baby. “There’s no way this will lead to lower rates. To the contrary, rates will go up.”
Currently when you browse the internet (within the Uk I am talking about now!) at home, at a library or work place - every website and service you visit gets the same internet speed. That is the founding principle of net neutrality.
If you take away those regulations then there is absolutely measures of the ISPs from slowing the speeds of your internet to its competitors such as Netflix, and then charging you a premium if you want to watch them at the same quality.
In theUsa, these laws were captured via this legislation called the Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Under this law it forces large ISP networks to behave properly and act responsibly under the acceptance that they are to provide a public service.
It is this law that has now been repealed in the USA, and it is precisely why there has been such a strong outcry from open rights campaigners within that country and rather unsurprisingly, Silicon Valley.
So why has this happened I can hear you thinking?
Unfortunately unlike the UK, the US doesn’t have a particularly competitive market around internet and telecommunications companies.
The FCC (Usa) has been trying to find ways to increase competition among the biggest players such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon and it believes that by scrapping these regulations it can do that.
How? Well in the words of the FCC’s chairman AjitPai he believes “broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially to underserved areas.”
Effectively by removing this level playing field it will allow ISPs to offer a greater number of packages e.g. If you choose us we’ll give you the fastest speeds for Spotify over our competitors for example.
Does this apply withiin the UK?
Net neutrality is vigorously protected in the UK under the European Union’s regulation on Open Internet Access.
Commenting on change to US net neutrality rules, Andrew Glover, Chair of the UK Internet Services Providers Association Council, said:
“The changes to net neutrality rules in the US do not have an impact on customers of UK ISPs. For a long time, UK providers have been committed to preserving an open internet through a voluntary code.
“More recently, strict EU rules have come into force which clearly state that ‘providers of internet access services shall treat all traffic equally, when providing internet access services, without discrimination, restriction or interference’.”
While that protects our broadband speeds. What could it mean to our Musicians, Groups or Solo artists for instance?
Imagine for a minute a musician sells their own music over the Internet – via their website, on their Bandcamp website, ITunes on wherever.
With the repealing of the Net Neutrality laws. If someone decides to purchase their favourite musician music via their website digitally. They then are going to have to download this music from their website which could become really slow to do so.
It could hang, pause or freeze as you are waiting for it to download. And this is more than likelyto happen if youhave been put onto the slow lane – Net Neutrality wise via your ISP! Not unless you’re willing to pay extra fee dollars or cents (Or whatever currency that your country uses) to be put over onto the fast line of the Internet highway.
Without Net Neutrality independent musicians, the general music buyers and public are morelikely to be caught within this crossfire.
Potentially Independent artists and their website who don’t sign over to the bigger Music labels, Music organisations or ISP’S; and arenot prepared to pay these higher charges/fees to gain a good enough Internet speed for themselves will suffer.
This in itself could see their own downloads from their own music sales reduced considerable via their websites.
Larger record labels or musical organisations via their financial clout will then be able to “position” their own musicians, artists or music acts to stand out even more within the “market”. As these same organisations will now be more readily be able to afford the new charges.
Another factor to take in. Will be the fact that these major labelled artists will then become even more readily available to the general music buying public. As the larger record labels or music organisation digital downloads will not hang, freeze or pause.
If the major ISP’s within the Uk or around the world decides to go along this route. Then the Uk, and the rest of the worlds general public will not have the wide range of music variety to sample as before. As the independent musicians or groups are being gradually being priced out of the running.
It is a scary scenario for music lovers around the world and the whole scale music industry. What will pan out we are yet to see. But it could to proves to become a very bumpy ride indeed.
Well thats all folks for me now anyway.
Dj Mistri and the Electric Soul Show © www.electricsoulshow.com