Monday, August 18, 2008

Emergency! Federal Government Moves to Crush the Most Brilliant Internet Radio Concept of All Time!

Friends, this is no laughing matter. Totalitarianism is rearing its ugly head. Pandora is about to be destroyed by 'obscure' federal regulations:

"We're approaching a pull-the-plug kind of decision," said Tim Westergren, who founded Pandora. "This is like a last stand for webcasting."

The transformation of words, songs and movies to digital media has provoked a number of high-stakes fights between the owners of copyrighted works and the companies that can now easily distribute those works via the Internet. The doomsday rhetoric these days around the fledgling medium of Web radio springs from just such tensions.

Last year, an obscure federal panel ordered a doubling of the per-song performance royalty that Web radio stations pay to performers and record companies.

Traditional radio, by contrast, pays no such fee. Satellite radio pays a fee but at a less onerous rate, at least by some measures.

For those of you who have not yet experienced the wonders of Pandora, let Pretty Lady be the first to tell you--it is wondrous. You type in a band that you are particularly fond of, and Pandora spews out all sorts of music that you Really Really Like, much of it music that you never even heard of! At last years' Halloween party, Pretty Lady put on 'Guadalcanal Diary Radio' and the evening was magical, in tenor and tone! At least until somebody cut an artery with a pumpkin-carving knife. But never mind.

The rationale for this blighting of Halloween parties everywhere is "It's For The Artists." Faugh. Artists benefit when people who love Guadalcanal Diary can hear songs by obscure bands that sound like Guadalcanal Diary, and rush right out and buy the albums, not when Pandora has been crushed by excessive and discriminatory royalty fees.

Friends, this is bad. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. Pretty Lady can think of nothing to do right now but wring her hands; there doesn't seem to be a Congressman to write to, who concerns him or herself with obscure telecommunications panels. What shall we do? What shall we do?


Chris Rywalt said...

Christopher is not a fan of Pandora, as Facebook might say. I have yet to have anyone put a mix on Pandora that didn't rapidly devolve into irritating music. At the weekly drawing sessions I attend, Pandora has become the bane of my existence. I've even considered bringing my own MP3 player and listening to that instead; but I think it's rude to wear headphones while other people are in the room. Certainly part of the problem is the channel chosen, but Pandora doesn't help.

I even went so far as using Finetune to build a playlist specifically for the drawing group. They listened to it for a little while, then changed it when I left the room.

Pretty Lady said...

Well, that settles it, Chris. Pandora must be doing something right. You did know that they have a function for saying 'no more of this' when you don't like a song, don't you? Your taste must simply be at odds with the taste of your drawing group.

Your drawing group rather liked my Finetunes playlist, didn't they?

Chris Rywalt said...

The "no more of this" function only works when you're sitting next to the computer. When ten of you are all drawing and painting a model who is trying to hold very still, no one can operate the function. So Pandora is allowed to wander willy-nilly, hither and yon.

My tastes are somewhat at odds with the drawing group. Apparently. I suspect some of them just don't care because they don't really hear the music -- they're purely visual people. Hence their attendance at an art group. But I'm kind of on both sides. (Maybe the trouble is I'm not especially good at either visual art OR music.)

Some of the models sing, too. Some of the music they choose -- hoo boy.

Chris Rywalt said...

Oh, and, yes, they did like your Finetunes list. Not enough to put it on again, apparently, or maybe they just forgot. But, yes, when I put it on, they liked it.

Shows what they know.