June 25, 2013

Pink Floyd: Pandora's Internet radio royalty ripoff

Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason on the dreaded emails that Pandora send out to musicians to cut their royalty rate even more. The big brass of Pandora can order their Lear jets ... From USA Today:

Musicians around the country are getting emails from Pandora – even directly from the company's charismatic founder Tim Westergren – asking them to "be part of a conversation" about the music business and sign a simple "letter of support" for Internet radio.

Sounds good. Who wouldn't want to be "part of a conversation"? Who doesn't support Internet radio? What scrooge would refuse to sign such a positive, pro-music statement?

Of course, this letter doesn't say anything about an 85% artist pay cut. That would probably turn off most musicians who might consider signing on. All it says about royalties is "We are all fervent advocates for the fair treatment of artists." And the only hint of Pandora's real agenda is the innocent sounding line "We are also fervent supporters of internet radio and want more than anything for it to grow." The petition doesn't mention that Pandora is pushing the growth of its business directly at the expense of artists' paychecks.

Fine print is one thing. But a musician could read this "letter of support" a dozen times and hold it up to a funhouse mirror for good measure without realizing she was signing a call to cut her own royalties to pad Pandora's bottom line.

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