Musicians, Record Labels decry FCC’s plans to roll back Net Neutrality rules

In a new statement, a broad coalition of bands and artists, songwriters, and producers were joined by the American Association of Independent Music and an array of individual record label signatories in strong opposition to Chairman Pai’s plans to roll back Net Neutrality protections.

The statement was jointly organised by CASH Music and Future of Music Coalition, and submitted as official comments to the FCC. Additional sign ons from artists, labels, and fans will be collected at through the FCC’s reply comment period ending August 16th, offering the music community a chance to be heard.

The full list of signatories and the text of the letter is below:

As musicians, composers, producers, and independent labels representing diverse backgrounds, traditions, genres, and communities, we urge the Federal Communications Commission to protect the open internet as a vehicle for free expression and collaboration.

We’ve built careers and big parts of our lives around our passion for music — creating it and connecting with listeners. Today, the internet is one of the primary places this work happens. We rely on it for everything from booking tours to selling merchandise, to collaborating with musicians on the other side of the globe. The fundamental principle of openness online has enabled artists to connect directly with each other and with audiences, empowering us to distribute our work and reach fans in a multiplicity of ways. At its best, the open internet has allowed for a flourishing of diverse voices, allowing to compete alongside the biggest companies, creating connections across geographic barriers, offering choice, flexibility, and creative autonomy.

To truly make good on the remarkable democratic potential of the internet, the fundamental infrastructure underpinning it all must be neutral and nondiscriminatory. Unfortunately, the FCC’s current proposal would amount to a sharp turn in the opposite direction. It would allow big cable and wireless companies to create new pay-to-play fast lanes, disadvantaging those who cannot pay for preferential treatment, and replicating the industry’s past problems with payola. Allowing broadband providers to control this once-open platform shifts leverage away from individual artists, creators, and small businesses, and interferes with freedom of speech and expression.

The implications for free expression also extend to digital service providers. Without strong net neutrality protections, digital retailers will have to compete to better meet the needs of the ISPs that can block, throttle, or slow down access to their offerings. These services should instead be competing to better serve the needs of diverse musicians and listeners. Artists and labels’ choices about how and where to bring their work to the market could likewise be constrained by what the ISPs prefer, rather than what works best for their individual business and creative goals.

Of course, network neutrality alone is not sufficient to ensure a healthy internet, where free expression thrives, creative labour is fairly compensated, consumer privacy is respected, and diverse voices can reach audiences. But it is a necessary foundation for fair competition.

We urge the FCC to sustain the existing, strong net neutrality rules, based on Title II of the Communications Act. The FCC should maintain bright line rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritisation on both fixed and mobile connections, as well as maintaining ongoing oversight of other types of discrimination.

Alec Ounsworth (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah)
Allan Wilson (!!!, Secret Drum Band)
Amanda Palmer
Amy Klein
Apostle of Solitude
Beauty Pill
Brent Knopf (Ramona Falls, Menomena, Eyelids)
Brian Henneman, Bottle Rockets
Craig Finn (The Hold Steady)
Cuddle Formation
Dave Narcizo (Throwing Muses)
David Bazan
David Poe
Devin Gallagher (Typhoon, Ghosties)
Downtown Boys
Dude York
Ear Trumpet Labs
Emily Reo
Erin McKeown
Franz Nicolay
Gabriel Teodros
Rebecca Gates
Harry & The Potters
Holly Herndon & Mat Dryhurst
Hurry Up
Ian MacKaye
Jace Clayton
Jeff Mangum & Astra Taylor, Neutral Milk Hotel
Jeff Rosenstock
Jeff Tweedy & Spencer Tweedy
Jon Spencer
Jonny X and the Groadies
Kimya Dawson
Kristin Hersh
Kronos Quartet
Kyle Morton (Typhoon)
Lee Baines III & The Glory Fires
Lisa Schonberg (Secret Drum Band, Explode Into Colors)
Matthew Caws (Nada Surf)
Merrill Garbus (tUnE-yArDs)
Maggie May Morris (Genders, Sunbathe)
Mike Watt
Mike Wroblewski (Genders, Paper Brain)
Mutual Benefit
My Morning Jacket
Pieter Hilton (Typhoon, Deathlist, Sunbathe, Genders, Secret Drum Band)
Radiator Hospital
Slow Wolves Club
Speedy Ortiz
Stay Inside
Tanya Donelly (Belly)
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
The Blow
Tobi Vail (Bikini Kill, Spider and the Webs)
Told Slant
TW Walsh
Will Johnson
Will Sheff (Okkervil River)
Zoë Keating

Independent Labels
American Association of Independent Music
Atlantic Rhythms
Bad Friend Records
Bloodshot Records
Carpark Records
Cuneiform Records
Don Giovanni Records
DZ Tapes
Exotic Fever
Exploding In Sound
JMC Aggregate
Kill Rock Stars
Merge Records
Misra Records
Partisan Records
Polyvinyl Records
Regalia Records
Secretly Group
Sister Polygon Records
Slumberland Records
Tape Modulator
Thirsty Ear Recordings
Thrill Jockey
To Live A Lie Records
Top Shelf Records

About the Author

Loves long walks along the beach, holding hands and romantic 80's power ballads, partial to electronic music and likes to make the odd mix or two.