This email really made me gulp:
Dear Pandora listener, Today we have some extremely disappointing news to share with you. Due to international licensing constraints, we are deeply, deeply sorry to say that we must begin proactively preventing access to Pandora’s streaming service for most countries outside of the U.S. It is difficult to convey just how disappointing this is for us. Our vision remains to eventually make Pandora a truly global service, but for the time being, we can no longer continue as we have been. As a small company, the best chance we have of realizing our dream of Pandora all around the world is to grow as the licensing landscape allows. [Your] IP address […] indicates you are listening from Germany.
The U.S. government has introduced legislation that would require net radio stations a lot more money in fees than they had to pay for until now. Not only that, these fees would also have to be paid retroactively, i.e. in the case of pandora.com for the last 18 or so months.
This, of course, would put many net stations out of business.
I just can’t believe the stupidity of major labels lobbying for a raise of fees for net radios. To be honest, I’d guess that not a single other format leads to more sales than net radio. (In the cast of pandora.com, which basically is a music recommendation service, this is even more true!)
While people living outside the U.S. can’t do all that much right now, listeners in the U.S. can help out. Some tips on what to do, and how, can be found on the website of the Save Net Radio campaign. Updates on what’s happening are also provided on the Pandora weblog.
So far, the campaign obviously has shown quite an effect:
What a week! The outpouring of public support for internet radio over the past seven days has been nothing short of extraordinary. Following our outreach to Pandora listeners, every congressional office was flooded with constituent phone calls, emails and faxes – literally hundreds of thousands in just 5 days! The entire fax system on the Hill was brought to a standstill. We had to hand deliver the faxes! The response in DC has been dramatic and immediate. A bill was introduced today to reverse this terrible ruling and bring rationality to bear on this issue. The bill is called the Internet Radio Equality Act, HR 2060 and is being introduced by Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Donald Manzullo (R-IL). For more info go to SaveNetRadio.
Hey, D.C., give us Pandora back. We still need it, no matter if we’re inside or outside the U.S.!