Pandora At The Forefront Of Greed In The Music Industry

Yesterday I came across an article from  the Triricordist that was pretty alarming. A songwriter had been paid $16.89 for royalties on 1,159,000 plays of a song from Pandora. Really, Pandora is earning millions off it’s music service. How could they blatantly stiff musicians and songwriters like this? And get this, Pandora is currently lobbying congress for change on royalty structures, so they could effectively pay even less.  As a songwriter, I’m outraged and I thing every musician out there should be as well. With the current laws in place, an artist cannot opt out of Pandora. If that was the case, Pandora would likely go bankrupt rather quickly. All we could do as musicians at this point is just spread the word to other musicians and ask them that they boycott Pandora and it’s services. Recommend that people turn to a service such as Sirius XM radio, where artists are paid a fair rate.

(here is a screenshot of David Byrne’s actual royalties statement.)

Pandora music royalty statement

One could argue that the amount of exposure for this song was extremely valuable. Well, yes, up to a point. But had Pandora not been around, this song would have earned more on other similar music subscription sites, or even better: consumers would have bought more downloads on iTunes.  Pandora really needs to re-evaluate it’s business model. It’s currently earning millions per year in revenue ad share from advertisers. The right thing to do is pay musicians their fair share.

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