Dear Pink Floyd: We’re So Sorry About Your Complete State of Confusion. Signed, Pandora…

And the hole keeps getting deeper. After Pink Floyd excoriated Pandora for deceptively ‘tricking artists into signing their own paycuts,’ Pandora has responded with this statement.

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We have enormous respect for the members of Pink Floyd, and their amazing artistic contributions. We also respect the genuineness of their opinion.

Unfortunately, they have been given badly misleading information – the result of a well-orchestrated campaign by the RIAA and their lobbying arm to mislead and agitate artists.

A glaring example is the assertion that Pandora supports an “85% artist pay cut.”  That is simply not true. We never, nor would we ever, support such a thing. In fact, Pandora has suggested solutions that would guaranteeno reduction in artist payouts while also nurturing the growth of internet radio — a medium that is crucial to thousands of independent musicians who don’t enjoy major label support or FM radio exposure.

This much is true: Pandora is by far the highest paying form of radio in the world and proudly pays both songwriters and performers.

For perspective, to reach the exact same audience, Pandora currently pays over 4.5 times more in total royalties than broadcast radio for the same song.  In fact, at only 7% of U.S. radio listening, Pandora pays more in performance royalties than any other form of radio.

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Image by Kevin Manning, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).

31 Responses

  1. Visitor

    “Pandora has suggested solutions that would guarantee no reduction in artist payouts”
    LOL, here’s the truth:
    PANDORA SUES ARTISTS FOR LOWER RATES:

    Plus a couple of interesting Pandora facts:
    Every 1,000 plays of a song on Pandora is worth about 8 cents in performance rights for the songwriters and composers ($0.00008 per stream).To put that in context, Miranda Lambert’s hit song “The House that Built Me” was streamed on Pandora nearly 22 million times, earning its songwriters and publishers roughly $1,788.48. Co-writer Allen Shamblin received only $894.14. Lady Antebellum’s 2011 Grammy-winning Song of the Year “Need You Now” was streamed nearly 72 million times on Pandora, earning its four songwriters and publishers $5,918.28. Co-writer Josh Kear received only $1,479.57.In 2012, Pandora founder Tim Westergren cashed out $9.9 million in stock options – more than the $7.6 million the company paid in total licensing fees split among all ASCAP members that same year.SOURCE:http://www.ascap.com/playback/2013/06/action/pandora-buys-fm-radio-station-in-a-bid-to-undercut-songwriters.aspx

    • Visitor

      You would have a legitimate point if Pandora had bought back those shares sold by Tim Westergren. I’ll give you a hint. They did not. Pandora did not pay him for those shares, therefore making your entire post irrelevant.

      Furthermore, Pandora pays a higher per-play per-listener rate than either terrestrial radio or satellite radio.

      • Visitor

        Here’s the bottom line:
        1) Artists get $0.00008 per stream.
        2) Pandora sues artists for lower rates.
        3) Mr. Westergren sends what will later be known as PSN, Pandora’s Suicide Note.
        Bye bye Mr. Westergren — it was fun, but now it’s over.

      • Hubristic

        Oh seriously? This has to be Pandora’s lobbying and consulting group trolling again.

  2. Knob twiddler

    Any company that tells you they give a crap 1st and foremost about *anything* other than making money better be a non-profit…or they’re patently lying.

  3. Down With dora's Pan

    Pandora just needs to ‘go away’ at this point.

    No artist will miss it, and it’s base will be absorbed by slightly more honest entities.

    Reply

    • Visitor

      Really? What other service provides as much exposure to artists big and small and reaches as many people as Pandora? You really think the artists are better served if Pandora simply went away? That makes no sense to me.

      • Visitor

        “What other service provides as much exposure to artists big and small and reaches as many people as Pandora?”
        YouTube.
        It provides way more exposure!
        However, you also have to understand that this is a new era: Yes, exposure meant everything ten or twenty years ago. Not so anymore. The only important thing today is paying customers.
        And Pandora or Spotify streams are worthless. You can not finance professional music production from the revenues, and that’s all that matters.
        1-200m YouTube streams, on the other hand, do make sense.

        • kelsey

          Look at the payouts Youtube users get though. Both companies (Spotify too) can afford to raise what they pay, so they should – simply having Pandora go away is going to hurt the streaming business, because the message it sends is that even paying artists that little is an unsustainable business platform, which could cause companies like Spotify and Youtube to pay less.
          And in a world where there are a gazillion artists competing for our attention and dollars on a gazillion different platforms, I think exposure means MORE than it did ten or twenty years ago.

          • Visitor

            “And in a world where there are a gazillion artists competing for our attention and dollars on a gazillion different platforms, I think exposure means MORE than it did ten or twenty years ago.”
            Maybe we can agree that it’s a paradox:
            On one hand, it’s extremely easy to get ridiculous amounts of attention today. But it’s worthless because it doesn’t translate into cash.
            What’s a million Spotify streams worth? Nothing.
            On the other hand, exposure is still valuable — in the right doses.
            And the right doses are about 100m at the moment.

          • GGG

            1M Spotify streams is actually worth more than 1M Youtube plays, is it not?

        • menlo

          Your point about YouTube is a complete joke and exposes your utter stupidity as a business person. The 14 year old who knows what Justin Bieber song she wants to play 55 times a day goes to YouTube to play it for free instead of paying for it on iTunes. You, moron, lose a tremendous amount of money when the ad revenue supporting that 55 plays offers a fraction of the monetization that you otherwise could have earned if that active listening occured somewhere else. There is no music discovery on YouTube and therefore no opportunity for you to leverage beyond the shit monetization on that platform.

          • Visitor

            “There is no music discovery on YouTube”
            Elegant.
            How did you manage to squeeze so much ignorance into such a short sentence?

          • ceebee

            What’s particularly funny about your reply is that your example artist, Justin Bieber, was discovered on YouTube.

            Yes, purchasing a song would be a golden age ideal for a creator, but we’re also at a point where we have to accept that purchasing is not what listeners generally want to do anymore. People are less and less interested in owning music, and not just because of how much they would pay for it. It’s a shift in lifestyle. What we need to do is figure out how to make streaming a viable option for supporting music creators, which is why discussions and debates about things like this are so important. And if many people are obsessively playing songs on repeat, I believe the potential for earning more from that song than you would from downloads exists. We just have to settle the system down to something reasonable for all involved.

            You can actually make a living as an independent creator from YouTube views. If you’ve never heard of DFTBA Music, it’s a record label that deals exclusively with artists who have built and continue to maintain their audience on YouTube. They earn a decent living through the site and their album and other merch sales. In the last few years DFTBA has gone from a small operation out of one man’s bedroom to a warehouse operation. Music discovery does happen on YouTube and can be very beneficial for individuals both artistically and financially.

          • Visitor

            “People are less and less interested in owning music”
            That is not correct; pirates steal obscene amounts of music.
            Stop that, and the death race to bottom will be over.
            Streaming is the direct result of piracy, and it will disappear again when we get rid of mainstream piracy.

          • ceebee

            Whether or not streaming is the “direct” result of piracy I don’t really know anything about, but it’s pretty well documented that the most commonly pirated titles today are things that can’t easily be downloaded or streamed legally.

            I don’t deny that some people pirate just to pirate, however, or that the digital world makes it much easier for people to pirate, or that we need better ways of going after the people who break the law. The fact remains that this is the world we live in now – one with internet and streaming – and we need to live in it instead of looking backwards for answers, because streaming and the internet aren’t going away anytime soon and clearly our previous models weren’t built to deal with it.

            Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that “streaming is the direct result of piracy” is true. Even so, you can’t just erase habits and preferences that have grown out of the existence of streaming. It has changed the way we interact with media and entertainment. You can’t just unchange that with a magic wand.

          • GGG

            No, we must shut down Netflix and make everyone start going to Blockbuster again! Revolution!

    • Jeff Robinson

      Pandora creates ‘radio with no viewpoint’, i.e. DJ or Music Director to make the programming unique.
      Thus, Pandora is boring and unoriginal to listen to. Truth is, their product simply blows. It’s badly thought out. Thousands of unique streams each for an individual listener? What Venture Capitalist thought that was a good idea.

  4. Fatso

    Pandora has a point. Why should they pay more than other kinds of radio, just because they broadcast via the internet?

  5. jesse

    Why should songwriters give up anything to “save” Internet radio? Perhaps their business model just doesn’t work. Internet radio isn’t making life better for any artists or writers – and no offense – it’s not THAT great of an idea anymore. It doesn’t take an algorithm to tell people who like Bob Dylan to check out Jake Bugg. There are plenty of more promising options for music discovery coming down the pipeline.
    Pandora’s only value is in their scale, but it’s not like that scale is translating into anything worthwhile for artists or writers. I challenge this forumn to name an artist who’s career has been markedly improved thanks to Pandora.

    • kelsey

      It may not take an algorithm for you, but most music listeners are pretty lazy. It’s the internet, people are used to being spoonfed. No one is going to search Jake Bugg out.

      • Visitor

        Sure, but there are a bunch of better options for “spoon fed discovery” (some algorithmic, some more analog) that do way more for artists. Plus, it’s just not that cool of a service anymore.
        I take issue with the fact that Pandora is trying to justify lobbying for reduced rates by claiming they’re some sort of savior for artists – as if they’re having any impact on anyone’s career or bottom line. They’re not.
        They built a big user-base and got a lot of people to buy in because they were the first to internet radio. Good for them, but it’s not making a difference for artists. If muzac wanted to reduce their rates, I would feel about the same way. Why should any of us care about saving their business?

      • jesse

        Sure, but there are a bunch of better options for “spoon fed discovery” (some algorithmic, some more analog) that do way more for artists. Plus, it’s just not that cool of a service anymore.
        I take issue with the fact that Pandora is trying to justify lobbying for reduced rates by claiming they’re some sort of savior for artists – as if they’re having any impact on anyone’s career or bottom line. They’re not.
        They built a big user-base and got a lot of people to buy in because they were the first to internet radio. Good for them, but it’s not making a difference for artists. If muzac wanted to reduce their rates, I would feel about the same way. Why should any of us care about saving their business?

  6. Adam

    Well, that was Dumb of Pandora. They have said straight up that they are not forcing artists into signing their own paycut, yet as they are saying this, they are lobbying for lower rates. They don’t need to pay lower rates to survive, they need to start charging listeners a reasonable fee of, say, $5 or less per month. Not only would they be extraordinarily profitable, but the artists would make more money. The fact that they insist on being free is just assinine and self-serving. I pirate plenty of music. But I also buy TONS of music. I would pay for Pandora if it were a service I really liked. I pay for a subscription service that is not Pandora, and find it to be a great value. It saves me hundreds of dollars per month. Everyone with an internet connection who listens to music can afford $5/month for music. Give me a break. We made it easy. We made it free to start, but why the hell does it need to be free for everything and forever? Totally not a “business model” – more like a “model for the predation of artists.” Screw Pandora and westergen. Love, a music fan who cares about music.

  7. musicFIRST

    Answering Tim Westergren’s Challenge In His Own Words
    http://www.musicfirstcoalition.org/?page=blog_index&postid=1397922&room=musicfirst
    A Host of artists have called Tim Westergren out.
    Now, Tim has something to say. He has a challenge. Can anyone identify a statement that says he seeks to reduce artist payments by as much as 85%?
    Yes, we can:
    “This bipartisan bill will correct the incredible inequity in how different digital radio formats are treated under the law when it comes to setting royalties. The difference is quite extraordinary. In 2011, Pandora paid over 50% of our revenues in performance royalties, while SiriusXM paidless than 10%. [actually 8%].” (emphasis added)
    50% to 8%. About an 85% reduction.

    • Visitor

      I am sure it is fun to use old statistics in a current debate. It almost makes you look like you know what you are talking about. SiriusXM is currently paying ~12.5% and climbing. And if Pandora got their way, the royalty rate for SiriusXM would increase drastically.

      • musicFIRST

        Point me to where that is in their bill.
        Those statistics came from Tim. His challenge was where Pandora ever asked for an 85% pay cut.
        Quit playing a shell game.

    • earbits

      I think the point is that Pandora lobbied for the same rate as other broadcasters. That happens to be an 85% discount at the current rates, which can be changed. They did not lobby to keep the rates at 8%. They lobbied to be treated the same.
      If you raise everybody else’s rates, then the IRFA does not have to mean an 85% reduction. Make everyone else pay 28% and treat Pandora the same. Overall, more money for everybody, and the companies are all on an even playing field.

      • Paul Resnikoff

        I thought you didn’t like Digital Music News anymore? 😉

      • earbits

        So no cut for Pandora, Pandora wants satellite rates increased to what Pandora pays? This is REALLY what you are going with?
        Why does he say in his own blog post that the bill results in a “reduction in revenue” for artists.
        Countless examples of this.