Nearly 100 musicians are announcing their support for net neutrality and the FCC's current plan to reclassify internet service under the strict rules of Title II. The musicians — including REM, OK Go, and Death Cab for Cutie — published an open letter through the Future of Music Coalition today that's addressed to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. The letter implores Wheeler to move forward with reclassification and says that the musicians will help to stand in its defense when it inevitably comes under fire.
"Isn’t it cooler to have us on your side than some giant ISP? We think so."
"Creators of all genres and backgrounds will benefit from the protections your proposal would enshrine," the musicians write. "Net neutrality is not only a powerful engine of creative expression and civic discourse, it is the very oxygen of a free and competitive marketplace built on technological and cultural innovation. And artists are drivers of both."
The musicians believe that reclassification under Title II is the best way to ensure net neutrality, allowing them to continue reaching a wide audience and selling their work online. That's not a new sentiment, but having major celebrities and artists reiterate it is a good reminder of exactly why the internet needs these protections — a good many bands wouldn't have ever broken out if it weren't for the web.
"We know that you will face political opposition and coordinated attacks from well-funded corporations. But isn’t it cooler to have us on your side than some giant ISP? We think so," they write. "And we’ll step up to defend your plan because we know it’s the right call, and we know you understand the importance of making it."
Other artists and bands signing of the letter include The New Pornographers, Amanda Palmer, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, Aerosmith's Joe Perry, Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum, about half of The Decemberists, Spoon's Britt Daniel, and Ted Leo, along with several dozen others. Somehow, Neil Gaiman also made it onto the list.
The FCC's vote on the net neutrality plan is scheduled for Thursday morning. It's expected to pass, but that isn't the end of this battle: in fact, it marks the beginning of a new one. Internet providers aren't happy with the commission's new rules, and they have plenty of legal arguments for why those rules aren't valid. It'll be a long fight — but at least Thursday's vote looks like it should go the chairman's way.