You want to read it? Good luck. I think I'd rather read through a dishwasher manual than read it again.
What does this mean for this site and others?
Well, let us first understand the reason behind such a needed change of law. See, the Internet is this breeding ground - usually filled with porn - for the new digital forum of ideas and creativity.
It also has changed the spectrum of "true" journalism for either the better, or worse. Unlike the staying power of a (once) blog like Pitchfork, that has turned into a make or break system for upcoming artists (obviously those guys aren't getting paid off), there are smaller blogs across the Web, some of which you and I have never seen that can get pull quotes for good/decent reviews for some of the worst music out there.
In fact, the FTC has found/seems to think that some of those blogs are started by the companies behind the entertainment. The acts of payola on a prehistoric system known as radio has moved its way over into hyperspace, sans the Tron factor.
If you can't trust Rolling Stone anymore, who can you trust on the Web?
Now this doesn't cover just the Web. Celebrity endorsements, etc. will surely be put in a slump with those late night infomercials trying to shrink that freshman fifteen for many of us through a single pill, instead of proper food consumption and at least a damn walk around the block while that pirated episode of LOST is loading.
The bill also counts "gifts" as forms of payment, not unlike payola. For all of Jason's treasures and Drew's free advances, they're in deep shit now! Oh-oh!
If anyone doesn't know, music journalists don't make shit, and sometimes get what they love for free. Under disclosure, I attended last night's These Arms Are Snakes show for free. When I perform interviews, I usually get put on the guest list, and if I had already bought a ticket, I do decline, or end up selling my ticket for half so some other fortunate kid can get into a sold out show. Pay it forward, you know? That kid may end up buying a t-shirt in the end.
But yeah, we get promos, press passes, posters, etc. Not all the time though.
This idea of "gifts" is frowned upon in the journalist's career because it moves him from the form of objectivity to subjectivity, yet with music journalist, there is subjectivity in what you listen to, and what you like, which brings us back to the dilemma.
The Internet has opened so many blogs to the public's decision. The problems, like personal influence and the bigger problem of leaks, have gotten some in hot water, and left other major outlets dealing with harder times of press.
I think what the FTC is doing is actually a good idea in that it will hopefully weed out some of the bullshit "journalism," just as I hope that a positive end of illegal downloads will weed out the bullshit music.
Howinthehell they are going to do this (which some articles have stated that it will be a game of cat and mouse, great), and who will suffer its fate first, is yet to be determined. We'll have to see in the next decade I guess.
As for this site, I think Anton said it best. I'm there with him. I do a lot of what I do for free at the moment, and the few perks are a nice barter to that. Those perks have never influenced my writing in any way. If you enjoy the bands that I have interviewed or reviewed, it's because it's an honor, and I give myself a one shot chance to convince others. I'm not paid for PR groups/managements to do that.
In fact, I've turned some interviews/reviews down. Even if they offered to pay my debt, I'd rather have that, and my pride.