There is a great divide between younger generations and older generations.
While older generations in corporate America prefer to stay with what they KNOW, their lobby for enforcement to ‘hands off’ regulation, mixed with their respective lobby groups to take advantage of consumers continues to sprawl. This is hurting competition and hurting the citizens of the United States.
We have seen how technology can uproot and change decades of traditional markets – like the Music Industry, Movie Industry, Software Industry and Book Publishing Industry. While it can be understandable for businesses to protect what they know, their own lack of innovation and actions to stonewall and stop new markets – only hurts the market place and the US and global economy.
Our country has proven, even in the early 1900′s, that huge corporations left to their own devices, stop newer innovations from taking root. This is the importance of regulation in markets. There was only success in business based on regulations, not completely unregulated markets.
Today, more people have become interested in online Internet streaming radio than AM FM radio stations. It is a new era and while AM FM radio has consolidated to only a few remaining corporate players like Infinity and Clear Channel, these businesses would like to see nothing more than the collapse of Satellite Radio business like XM Sirius and Internet Streaming Radio markets like Pandora and Slacker. Their motive stems from a lack of innovation into these new markets on the part of the traditional players.
Unfortunately, Internet radio is where their future markets live. People don’t sit around the fire and listen to FDR Fireside Chats and The Shadow. Traditional companies would be better off spending wasted lobby and lawyer fees on innovation, verses trying to wreck new players in new markets. Older companies would prefer to break these new markets to get back to what they know. Yet modern consumers are not interested in spending their evenings around the fireplace and Radiola listening to commercials about Lucky Strike cigarettes and the Lone Ranger. As we have seen with Apple’s iPod and iTunes, music has gone into new markets There are very few retail stores selling music – a critical part of old music and radio markets. This was due to the innovation of Apple iPods and their iTunes store. (More than once Steve Jobs told these old industry leaders that he would not double and triple the Apple fees to consumers, to appease Warner Brothers, Sony Music and others revenue desires. He saw the new markets with greater volume, more distribution and thinner margins. Thinner margins and ten times the distribution created real profits. This has allowed people to buy from their mobile devices and computers, from all over the world, to buy from their home more often, versus having to drive 30 or 50 miles to purchase music as a CD.
While Internet streaming groups like Pandora Radio have worked carefully and closely for fair compensation packages with traditional production houses and artists, that give royalties to their respective rights owners, and artists, the Music / Recording is back peddling and insisting on different royalty agreements, making unrealistic demands on these Internet Streaming companies. This is predatory and monopolistic. The older Recording Industry and Lobby is insisting on larger royalty compensation packages in the hopes to either ‘break’ these markets or make more money from them. Internet Streaming does not have the ability to build their market without federal regulation to help them from being railroaded and bullied. Unless the Internet is torn apart, removing Internet Streaming overall will only lead to new underground markets which will force people to freely distribute music, like in the days of Napster, iMesh and other Peer-to-Peer sharing networks. It will encourage the same situation as alcohol prohibition in the early part of the 1900′s.
The Internet Radio Fairness Act, bill number S 3609 by Senator Ron Wyden was put together to protect the Internet Streaming markets. As posted on his blog (http://www.wyden.senate.gov/the-internet-radio-fairness-act) :
“Unfortunately, digital services for broadcasting music are one area of innovation on the Internet that is being stifled. In 1998, federal laws were enacted that specifically constrained the development of Internet radio as a commercially viable service. Despite stunting the growth of innovative new business models, the legacy music industry saw a massive decline in record sales. Artist, consumers and rights holders are increasingly searching for innovative new models to better promote music and fairly compensate creators. “
While these older executives fain hardship in revenue to their contracted artists, it is simply a ploy to try and look for sympathy in the courts. Traditional production houses have made a collective of hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue from traditional markets. Artists have only been given a fraction of this revenue – typically 1-5% on average of all sales. They also do not have careful tracking, on purpose, to monitor and pay royalties to artists. This is not the behavior of representatives who respect artists, as they claim time and again in legal proceedings. Artists have not been given fair deals by these production houses, in older markets.
Today – with the inclusion of streaming radio and the iTunes store- more people can be reached and more money can be made for all involved. The Internet Streaming industry and online digital sales from sources like the iTunes store offer artists GREATER compensation, and better tracking for royalty payments. These newer markets are both in the US and around the world, increasing the reach and sales potential by over a factor of 10 TIMES original revenue potential. New mobile distribution networks for these devices like ATT, Sprint and Verizon LTE, and devices like the iPad and iPhone, and Android phones allow great sales within new markets. These new devices allow more streaming and in turn more compensation overall to artists and production houses, with the critical help of Internet Streaming businesses.
Please consider supporting this Internet Radio Fairness Act, bill number S 3609, to help build new proven and viable markets in the United States economy and stop wealthy lobby money from supporting older models. (Another example of this happened when the recording industry previously fought with Apple for more revenue, Apple was able to prove through their R&D efforts that they can bring real revenue the Apple way, and not the historical Recording Industry way. This only helped the recording industry, not hurt it.)
Please vote in support of Internet Radio Fairness Act, bill number S 3609. Let these older business models learn how to play in the new sandbox of R&D and innovation, not kill the markets for the sake of holding back our country from success.