Pandora wins round one, but for the rest of us, nothing changes

After an intense last minute lobbying effort led by Pandora, the bill that was claimed to be “too close to call” H.R. 7084 passed the US House of Representatives tonight….without any dissent.

H.R. 7084, or the Webcaster Settlement Act gives webcasters an extension of time to negotiate lower royalty rates than those imposed on the industry last year.

The bill now goes to the Senate where certainly the forces of evil may indeed try to block it as Pandora and others have suggested, but with a unanimous pass in the lower house, it looks like half a decent chance of passing.

I’ve been strong in my criticisms of attempts to kill of the web radio industry in the United States in the past, and I fully support this bill, both as something important to the future of digital media, and as a daily internet radio listener myself. I also use to like Pandora, and as the first great automatic music recommendations service, I spent many hours on the site. And yet passage of this bill means nothing changes for the entire world outside of the United States for Pandora, because despite every single competitor I’m aware of being free to use outside of the United States, this is all I see on the site today, the same message I saw last year:

Apparently Pandora has different global licensing constraints than do other sites…and who am I to argue. However other sites battle to not only save webcasting in the United States, they also battle to save webcasting for a global audience. Pandora on the other hand remains georetarded.

The thing is, for most of the world, if Pandora died, we wouldn’t notice, nor dare I say it, would many of us care. For those outside the United States who care about the industry implications, the overboard alarmism by Pandora leading up to this vote doesn’t help their case either. Remember: no dissent, the bill passed unanimously, when Pandora cried wolf. There needs to be a concerted lobbying effort and this legislation needs to pass, but from what I’ve seen, Pandora perhaps shouldn’t be leading the charge, because you need to manage your grassroots carefully, where as Pandora just used up a whole lot of good will on the first battle, without yet winning the war.