Last Thursday, Spotify was blocked and can no longer be used in the U.S. House of Representatives. Usually when I imagine our representatives in Washington, I picture them hard at work reading huge bills and engaging in meaningful debates with their colleagues. I do not picture them listening to Spotify and would have bet good money that most of them neither know nor care about the music streaming software.
I might need to adjust my mental image of our representatives, who know all too well about Spotify and apparently can’t live without it.
The service was blocked because the the House does not allow the use of peer-to-peer technologies on their super secure network. The only problem is that Spotify isn’t a peer-to-peer service the way Napster was. However, apparently its framework has similarities to peer-to-peer programs. Either way, that they just now got around to blocking Spotify, which isn’t exactly brand new, doesn’t give me any confidence about the security of their network.
If the House is worried about the legality of Spotify, they can calm down. The RIAA CEO Cary Sherman said, “These services are safe and secure, and assuring access to them not only respects the contractual relationship users may have with these services, but also achieves an important public policy goal of promoting legal, safe digital providers.”
Spotify isn’t happy about the ban, and released the following statement, which I encourage you to read while imagining the guitar strumming that is in the background of all of their ads:
“It is a sad day when a few bureaucrats can block our nation's leadership from enjoying free, secure access to over 20 million songs. Music is a common language that all political parties speak and should be used to bring the legislators of this great country together so they can solve the serious issues facing our nation.”
Majority Leader Eric Cantor isn’t happy either. On Thursday he tweeted, “House blocked Spotify? This is 2013. It is a legal service that should be allowed. Pandora, YouTube, iTunes, Spotify... Let the music flow!”
Maybe the weirdest part about this is that the Senate can still listen to Spotify. Who knows when rock will be restored to the free world, but it’s safe to say that for now there won’t be any great House parties.