We’ve been following Zoë Keating’s blog for a while. Zoë represents (figuratively, not literally) a new generation of musicians whose careers have only really existed in the post-internet, pro-piracy environment. As such, the perspective of these artists who have little experience in the world prior to optional payment and virtually no artist control over the distribution of their work is somewhat different from those who have inhabited both environments.
We celebrate the Zoë Keatings of the world for their undying tenacity in their efforts to navigate the current music industry without having had the benefit of the pre-piracy era. Zoë’s made a few excellent observations and suggestions. One recent post has been to ponder the creation of a new artists rights coalition to represent the needs of contemporary indie and DIY artists. Another post has been soul searching on what might be the fair way to set appropriate royalty rates across the various terrestrial, satellite and internet streaming radio platforms.
But it is one of Zoë’s most recent posts which has really caught our attention, as Zoë has been “slashdotted” just for asking for transparency and data sharing from the internet companies profiting from the artists work.
In the case of a service like Pandora, when someone has taken the time to create a station around my music or given my songs a “thumbs up”… I’d rather know where in the world those particular listeners are than be paid the $0.0011 per play that is currently required by law. That was my point.
Now, we don’t think this should have to be a choice, and we think Zoë has an excellent point, especially given that the Declaration Of Internet Freedom specifically states transparency as one if it’s principles.
Declaration of Internet Freedom
We stand for a free and open Internet.
We support transparent and participatory processes for making Internet policy and the establishment of five basic principles:
Expression: Don’t censor the Internet.
Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.
Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create and innovate.
Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users’ actions.
Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.
As with many things we’ve seen from the tech sector, there always seems to be selective reasoning when it comes to them actually adhering to their own principles. This from the same people who want permissionless innovation, up and until, you are not asking them for permission as Google is illustrating with Doogle.
Of course the double standard and irrationality of the freehadist hive mind doesn’t stop there. Among the comments posted, this one is indicative of the faulty logic and thinking expressed by so many of the anti-artist maximalists.
“She got money, I got music. There was no agreement to get my data. 0% is hers.”
The point that should be emphasized is that there was no agreement period. Pandora gets a compulsory license. It gets the benefit of a “one-stop shop” for all sound recordings so long as it pays the rates, no questions asked. Congress took away from Zoe Keating the choice to make that agreement. So it’s also perfectly valid to say that Pandora should also turn over some data to artists in exchange for that – especially if the consumer is (and should be) given the choice to opt-in.
We are pro-choice and respect consent, and we believe that the internet and tech community should also as well.