Can musicians save network neutrality? Singer/songwriters Kay Hanley, Jill Sobule, and Michelle Lewis have joined forces and formed “The Broadband,” a group that has just released their first track, God Save the Internet. The comic song has a serious point: network neutrality is worth fighting for. Or, as the chorus puts it:
Hey, Mr. Telecom man
God save the Internet
Don’t change my reality
Keep that neutrality.
As Kay Hanley (formerly of Letters to Cleo) says, “The idea that the citizens of the world are somehow squatting on the telecom giants’ pipes is ludicrous.”
If you’re expecting a 60’s-style protest song sung by reedy-voiced idealists and recorded on someone’s dad’s tape recorder, you’ll be surprised by the clever lyrics and slick production of God Save the Internet. A song about network neutrality that people will listen to multiple times? It’s craziness! (And that’s even before the group name-checks Jesus, Gandhi, and Ben Kingsley.)
It’s an old-timey tale about a modern mess
Where some of them folks in our Congress
Want to send us back to the days of the Pony Express
…and slow our speediness.
All three women bill themselves as Internet aficionados. They all mention their appreciation for the left-wing blog Huffington Post (or “HuffPo” to those in the know), and they don’t want media companies to have any control over the sites that they choose to access. This is also the dominant theme of a six-minute video produced by savetheinternet.com that seeks to show ordinary Netizens how they could be affected if network operators are allowed to charge content providers (rather than just customers) fees for preferential treatment.
The song also neatly illustrates the tremendous power of the Internet. Only a few years ago, it would have been sold from the back of vans at concerts or distributed at political rallies; today, the Internet makes it simple to get the song out to anyone with a broadband connection.
While you’re listening to the song, the site makes it simple to send a letter to Congress, write your local paper, or sign a petition. The medium has gone high-tech, but the basic principles of grassroots organizing remain the same, and The Broadband hopes that their single can play at least some role in getting people energized about network neutrality.