How ending net neutrality would kill music blogs

The term ‘net neutrality’ has been commonplace in pop culture for the last few year, but many people still have no idea what it means or how it affect their lives.  

In the simplest terms possible, net neutrality is the idea that all things on the internet should be treated equally. The term was coined in 2003 by Columbia law professor Tim Wu, net neutrality stems from the idea that a public information network like the Internet is most useful if all of the content, websites and platforms on said network are treated equally. More specifically, net neutrality is meant to prevent large Internet service providers (ISPs) from slowing down sites or content from their competitors and privileging their own content to increase their revenue.

Net neutrality prevents corporations from controlling your internet experience. For example, because of net neutrality a company like Comcast is not allowed to slow your Netflix stream to a crawl to ensure you don’t stop paying them for cable. Likewise, it prevents Comcast from blocking your access to certain sites based on their content. 

Recently, certain people in government have been pushing to end net neutrality. If this were to happen, the power to determine who can access what online and how much they will have to pay to do so will be in the hands of internet providers. Furthermore, those same providers could charge websites fees based on their traffic.


EXAMPLE

In a world without net neutrality, Comcast could change their internet offerings from packages based on speed to packages based on what sites you would be allowed to access. $20 might get you Netflix, Facebook, and Twitter, but nothing else. $30 would get you all of the aforementioned sites, as well as Hulu, Amazon, etc. $40 would get you all over those, as well as additional ‘popular’ sites, and so on.

This would be bad for blogs for a number of reasons:

– The number of total consumers who could access their site would drop exponentially overnight. 

– There would be no clear way to ensure any marketing reaches people who can also access your site. Maybe the consumer pays for YouTube and therefore see your ads, but they might not have access to your site.

– New sites that begin to gain popularity will have to pay more and more in order to keep their site online. Failure to do so may cause their site to be throttled to such an extent its too slow for consumers to access. 


These problems would impact big and small music blogs alike. The diminished traffic would ultimately impact ad revenue, which in turn would limit how much a site could pay to be reachable. In short, it would take a miracle for anyone to make it out alive.

Net Neutrality would hurt artists and labels as well. Imagine not just paying $10 for Spotify, but an additional fee for the internet package that includes access to Spotify. This kind of ‘nickel and dime’ business will drive away lower income consumers, thus resulting in less streaming royalties for musicians. 

There is literally no aspect of repealing net neutrality that benefits the music business. Even Haulix, which is used by professionals around the world to access unreleased music for promotional purposes, would be inundated with extra costs if a repeal were to happen. Prices would have to be raised to meet these new costs, which would be hard for clients to meet considering the loss in streaming revenue. 

You can fight the war against net neutrality by contacting your representatives to demand they fight any proposed legislation that does not keep the internet free and equal. More information can be found on SaveTheInternet

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.