Digital Strategy, Music, Product Management

What will the lack of Net Neutrality mean for musicians and bands?

There has been a lot of noise in the past couple of months about the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) repeal of Net Neutrality. 
In this post we explore what it is, and what the potential impacts are on musicians – whether you have major label backing, are on an indie label or are self-funded.
Since the nature of the internet is global, this decision will have impact on many bands in many counties across the world who have fans in the USA – regardless of whether the band is USA based or not.
What Is Net Neutrality?

Net Neutrality rules were adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015 in the United States, and were designed to keep a level playing field amongst all companies online. 
The basic idea is that the companies who are providing your internet service, such as Verizon, AT&T etc. (ISPs) were not allowed to show any preferential treatment to any particular kind of content, website or application. They had to provide access to all content on the internet at the same speed regardless of who had created the content. This meant that companies like YouTube for example, couldn’t pay to have their content more speedily available.
On December 14th 2017, the FCC voted on its Chairman’s plan to change the Net Neutrality protections. But what impact will this have on musicians?
Paying for the fast lane

One of the major concerns with this deregulation is that it will allow ISPs to charge companies money based on whether they want their content to be shown to end users at greater speeds. As an example, you might have a company like Alphabet / Google who own YouTube who pay a premium price in order to allow their website to be easily accessed. 
On one hand, this is less of a problem for the big companies who have a surplus of funds that they can lean against. However, for the musician who is just starting out, or the indie label who represents a small but talented roster of artists, they are likely to have less funds available to pay for access to the fast lane.  This makes it an uneven playing field for content creators across the board. 
The main online marketing aspect for an indie artist that could be impacted will be those assets that they control themselves – such as their website – rather than their YouTube channel which would have the backing of YouTube overall. 
Given it’s more important than ever that you have your own website, especially in the wake of Facebook making changes to its News Feed algorithm, net neutrality is an important thing to keep fighting for – ensuring that every artist is able to connect with their fans online at the same speed.
Where can I read more information?

To get more information on the repeal of Net Neutrality and what it may mean for you, you can visit the following websites: