Genachowski Pitches Net Neutrality At Music Summit

Said artists, songwriters and independent music producers "know better than most" why it is necessary to have "fair rules of the road"

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski made a pitch for network neutrality at a Future of Music Coalition policy summit in Washington Monday.

He said artists, songwriters and independent music producers "know better than most" why it is necessary to have "fair rules of the road." That was a reference to his planned proposal to expand and codify the FCC's network openness guidelines to exclude discrimination of content and applications and require notification of network management activities.

"With a free and open Internet, you don’t have to have big-time, star-power leverage over record labels, publishing companies, commercial radio stations, or particular retailers to get your music to the public...Net Neutrality permits independent artists and independent labels to compete on an equal technological playing field with the biggest companies in the space. That’s the American way -- letting Internet users, the broadest group possible of ordinary people, decide who wins and loses," he said.

He gave a shout out to the musicians who have backed network neutrality, which includes R.E.M., Pearl Jam. OK Go and Wilco.

Genachwoski added a new stat to the growing list of broadband data. He said that according to a survey of country music fans, only 50% have access to the Internet at home.

But it was a rocker, not a country star, that Genachowski used to try to make his point about network neutrality, riffing on the names of Bruce Springsteen songs according to a copy of his speech. "Everywhere from the Streets of Philadelphia to My Hometown in New York, every Bobby Jean and every Jersey Girl should be counting on the Internet remaining free and open, not Counting on a Miracle. They should count on The Rising of millions of voices to beat back any Darkness on the Edge of Town, or broadband Badlands that could threaten limited choice and create potential bottlenecks..."

The chairman is planning to unveil his proposal Oct. 22 at the FCC's public meeting. The other two Democrats on the commission have pledged their support, while the Republicans have expressed reservations and Hill Republicans have pushed back, arguing network neutrality regs will reduce investment in broadband just as the nation is trying to spur it.