Okay, you feel strongly about net neutrality
rules, but you roll your eyes at the prospect of a bunch of aging rockstars advocating for it. What do cats like Eddie Vedder, Tom Morello, Michael Stipe, Fugazi, and more have to do with any of the issues at hand?
Actually, they have a really good point to bring to the fore. "The open Internet's impact on the creative community cannot be overstated," reads a letter they (and many others) signed and sent
chairman Tom Wheeler
. "The Internet
has enabled artists to connect directly with each other and with audiences. It has eliminated the barriers of geography and taken collaborations to new levels. And it has allowed people—not corporations—to seek out the film, music and art that moves them."
Eddie Vedder and Michael Stipe
Although many of the people who signed this letter made their bones more or less in the pre-Internet era, they’re speaking out on behalf of the artists of today who need the Internet to get themselves out into the public.
The Internet has been a powerful tool for promoting artists; even as record companies prop up plenty of megastars, the democratic nature of the Internet has allowed thousands more to find fan bases in regions of the country and the world that they would otherwise never be able to reach.
Further, the tools of the trade are tied tightly with all things online. You can whip up and run a decent website for next to nothing; you can book shows, do research, and communicate with venues; sites like Bandcamp give artists a free (or inexpensive) platform to promote themselves and distribute their music; and the Spotifys and Pandoras of the world get the good stuff out to fans.
In short, artists need the Internet, and net neutrality is screwing with it. Add these artists to the chorus of “boos” that Tom Wheeler is (and should be) hearing in the runup to the May 15th net neutrality vote.