Recently internet radio has taken a climb in its popularity due to the integration of sites like Pandora, that allow a user to simply create a small playlist based on the musical interests of each person. Although largely successful, Pandora has come under scrutiny due to their loyalty rights and whether or not they should be obligated to pay per song. There are two major preforming rights firms that handle the loyalties for terrestrial (AM/FM radio) and internet radio, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), and Broadcast Music. Inc. (BMI). These preforming rights conglomerates have been trying to undercut Pandora for years now, bypassing judicial orders, and requiring them to pay more money. Recently, all aforementioned parties have been scurrying through court cases to decide whether or not Pandora will continue overpaying for their streamed music, but also may decide the fate for existing royalty companies. A recent publication by the Mile Hi Music website discusses how sites like these can stay functional and running by lobbying the support from us the listeners, and I could not agree more.
In 2012 members of congress, and Pandora lobbied heavily for a new bill to take effect known as the Internet radio fairness act of 2012. The bill would allow sites like Pandora to become widely available to the masses, and require them to pay the same amount of royalties that terrestrial stations pay, as opposed to paying per song. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass and Pandora is still paying its outrageous fees. I highly support the continuation of internet radio, and I believe it is crucial that congress allow for the innovation of radio to manifest our country. When the matter boils down to everything it begins to become clear that these preforming rights firms do not want to lose any money to the changing time, while at the same time the artists wish to receive more for the changing time. As users, and practically the beta testers of the internet, our generation is responsible to uphold the rights of these stations, and platforms that provide a new taste of music, and new style of information. It disgusts me that an area to which is meant to be used as expression of art, feeling and news gathering has become a bee hive for corporate suits to riddle the masses of its capitol. The beauty lies within the fact that the internet is the untouched terrain of government control, which means becoming a part of a movement is ten times easier than in years before. Although in hiding for the time being, the internet radio fairness act can be born again by raising awareness. If you have ever used Pandora or platforms similar to Pandora then you have probably heard their ads. Sometimes those ads contain important information about the continuation of their site, and how the users can help. I highly suggest that you take the time out of your day to listen closely to those announcements, and spread awareness of the issue. In the end, if the preforming rights companies and the stations can’t come to an agreement the next in line to be emptying pockets will be us.