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April 17, 2007

Filed under: music»business»distribution

Congress Killed the Net Radio Star

The administrators of Pandora Internet radio have started a web campaign to petition against the retroactive increase in broadcasting fees for web-based radio, located at I have always been critical of the online letter-writing campaign, but I think the past has shown that they actually work for putting pressure on representatives who are not necessarily well-informed about these issues.

Why save net radio? For myself, this is the primary way nowadays that I discover new artists. If it weren't for places like Pandora and, I wouldn't know about Actionslacks, Mon Frere, or Viva Voce, just to name a few. You're certainly not going to hear them on terrestrial radio, assuming that I had time to listen to that anyway these days.

I thought it was interesting, in an interview with the AV Club, when Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) made the point that his was the first generation that could "own" a copy of a movie. Before the VCR, you could see a movie while it was in the theater or on TV, but you couldn't have a version to watch and pore over on your own schedule. Music went through that transition long before, and in a way the next step was the formation of net radio stations, where people could not just take ownership of the music, but could also program it into playlists and share it. If independent record shops hadn't already been fatally wounded, this would have killed them. I think it's important that we not let this channel of discovery die.

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