The following is a developing story. Please check back for ongoing updates.
Pandora now has a serious and snowballing artist relations issue on its hands, one that threatens to dramatically affect the outcome of its royalty reduction efforts on Capitol Hill. According to preliminary details released to Digital Music News on Monday, a number of superstar-level songwriters will be protesting on Capitol Hill this Wednesday (November 28th) against Pandora.
That’s the date when the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet will hear testimony on royalty structures and the Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA), with Pandora a central and driving participant. Pandora will likely send their ‘face,’ cofounder Tim Westegren, or CEO Joe Kennedy to plead the case.
The reception will be drizzly. The list of protesting songwriters is currently small, but undoubtedly heavyweight and capable of attracting lots of media attention. Kara DioGuardi, a Grammy-nominated songwriter and recent American Idol judge, will ringlead a group that currently includes Linda Perry (“Beautiful” as recorded by Christina Aguilera), Desmond Child (“Livin’ on a Prayer” as recorded by Bon Jovi), BC Jean (“If I Were a Boy” recorded by Beyoncé) and Lee Miller (“You’re Gonna Miss This” as recorded by Trace Adkins).
More names – including recording artists – are undoubtedly forthcoming (stay tuned).
Songwriters have a slightly different concern than recording artists, though both are facing the prospect of lowered royalties from a surging (and bankrolling) Pandora. “Songwriters are on Capitol Hill to celebrate music and stress that Pandora’s efforts to reduce royalty rates will hurt songwriters and music publishers,” the National Music Publisher’s Association (NMPA) offered in a statement. “In 2011, Pandora paid songwriters and music publishers only 4 percent of their total revenue.”
More as it develops.