music / News

Musical Artists Battle With Pandora Media Over Webcasting Royalties

November 15, 2012 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris

Billboard reports there is currently a battle with about 125 musical artists including Alabama and Rihanna along with the internet-radio company Pandora Media over their attempt to change the way statutory webcasting rates are set. The artists wrote an open letter the issue.

The letter is titled “A Musician’s Perspective on Pandora.” The letter criticizes Pandora over lowering their webcast rates and states: “Why is the company asking Congress once again to step and gut the royalties that thousands of musicians rely upon? That’s not fair and that’s not how partners work together.”

There is controversy over the Internet Radio Fairness Act, a bill that reportedly would implement a new standard for setting statutory royalty rates paid by webcasters. Per the report from Billboard, “Pandora is one of many webcasters that takes advantage of the Section 114 compulsory license that allows webcasters to operate by paying a statutory royalty to SoundExchange, the organization that collects digital performance royalties for sound recording owners, performing artists and featured artists. A new standard would most likely result in a lower statutory rate for webcasters.”

musicFirst Executive Director Ted Calo said in a statement, “These artists have joined together to tell Pandora it’s time to go back to the drawing board. We all want Internet radio to succeed, but it won’t if it tries to do so on the backs of hard working musicians and singers.”

Other artists who signed the letter include: Rihanna, Katy Perry, Don Henley, Journey, Brian Wilson, Missy Elliot, Billy Joel and Camper Van Beethoven, whose singer David Lowery has been a vocal critic of Pandora.

The bill is not set to go to committee this year and it will be introduced again in 2013 according to Billboard.biz sources. No hearing on the bill has been announced as of yet.

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Jeffrey Harris

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