The free and highly entertaining online radio website Pandora.com — one of the most readily accessible portals to music you’ll probably enjoy, but never heard before — needs help from all listeners to pressure the Senate to pass a bill supportive of its continuance. At issue is the backbreaking level of royalty payments being urged on this site and others like it by lobbyists for the National Association of Broadcasters, those giant broadcasters (think Clear Channel) who would monopolize the airwaves with formulaic playlists promoting a low-common-denominator monoculture.
What Pandora offers is better (more open. exploratory, innovative) than that, and in this case surprising supported by the Recording Industry Association of America, the group that’s been suing music downloaders on behalf of the record industry. Ridiculous as that effort is, by standing with Pandora RIAA gets it right. Take a look at Pandora founder Tim Westergren’s blog for details of the grass-roots phone-in campaign that pushed favorable legislation through the House of Reps. — and sign up to protect a free ‘n’ easy way to sample music beyond whatever music you personally already are into, rather than being stuck with whatever top 100 cuts stations figure everyone can deal with. As if we are all one undifferentiated ear!