For those of you who haven’t tried it yet, http://www.pandora.com (created by the Music Genome Project) is a great resource to listen to music, but also more than that; it’s a place to discover new bands, songs, and musical tastes. If it wasn’t for Pandora, my musical collection would be far more limited than it is now. It’s the chance to make a radio station just for you, that plays the type of songs you like, but still keeps surprising you with the new hits and random oldies that you’ve never heard before. Sure, it has it’s disadvantages, like any radio station. Sometimes it starts playing the newest Britney Spears single in your pop station and you cringe, noticing you’re out of skips, and are forced to sit back and listen to it anyway.
As you’re listening, it gives you a chance to purchase the songs and albums you discover and enjoy through Amazon or iTunes, while also bombarding you with advertisements for other music related products. The listener expands their musical tastes, the music company sells their songs, and the webpage is supported by advertisements. Everyone’s happy, right? Wrong.
The music industry has always targeted Internet radio as a form of pirating music legally, and are forcing Internet radio stations to pay twice the royalties of satellite radio. Pandora, the most popular Internet radio,with over 1 million listeners a day, is on the verge of collapse due to increased royalties fees.
“We’re approaching a pull-the-plug kind of decision,” said Tim Westergren, who founded Pandora. “This is like a last stand for webcasting.” – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/15/AR2008081503367_pf.html
How does this make sense? The music industry loves broadcast radio, it’s a chance to give a taste of their music and increase their sales. It seems the music industry’s greed and fear of the Internet is actually going to hurt them. If they continue to raise royalties and put pressure on Internet radio, then Internet radio will go away, causing them to both loose those royalties but also the millions of opportunities for listeners of Internet radio to find a new song they want to purchase. Maybe they’ll come to their senses before it’s too late, because it really would be a shame to have to remove Pandora from my bookmarks and go back to finding new music the old fashion way (getting friends to burn me mix CDs).