Pandora Is Now Preparing ‘Independent’ Responses for the ‘Next Artist Attack’

And how do we know this? Because Digital Music News has already been approached to publish a Pandora-approved, ‘independent’ response to an artist protest that hasn’t yet happened.  This occurred just days after Pink Floyd leveled Pandora in USA Today for tricking artists into endorsing reduced royalties.

Pandora seems to be anticipating something similar from another artist at the level of Pink Floyd (or even bigger).  Accordingly, Pandora is taking steps to have well-written, careful responses ready to go within 24 hours in places like Digital Music News.  Most importantly, the response needs to come from a source not affiliated with Pandora (or, so it seems…)

pandoraretort1
  • Save

pandoraretort2
  • Save

pandoraretort3
  • Save

39 Responses

  1. Sequenz_

    Doesn’t publishing this spoil or ruin the whole thing?
    Pandora won’t trust this person again… and it was even before the response had to be used.

    • Spoiler Alert

      I think that was the point in publishing it…

      • FarePlay

        I’d would like to contribute some backstory to these comments.
        In addition to DMN, I comment on several linkedin music groups, one of which, Music Industry Professional Forum, is frequented by Adrian Brigham. Andrian and I have had many online “conversations” over the past year, but one in particular obviously caught the attention of Tim Westergren and Pandora’s subsequent contact with Adrian. As fate would have it, it was an article that I reposted from DMN that got Pandora’s attention: http://goo.gl/5YDk5.
        Adrian shared with me privately, via e-mail, that he had indeed received an e-mail from Pandora, thanking him for his support.
        The real kernal of insight from this exchange. Mr. Brigham is an old school music guy, representing artists whose audience is boomers primarily over 45. He knows how to promote his artists regionally, using radio and proven promoters who have data bases targeted to his audience, an older audience that buys tickets for niche artists.
        Adrian isn’t looking to make money from airplay. For him radio has the same value it did twenty years ago, as a vehicle to sell pre-recorded music and concert tixs. His artists sell cds and do well touring because Andrian knows what he’s doing.
        Unfortunately, the situation is far different for younger artists, whose audience doesn’t understand the value of purchasing cds and contribute far less, if anything to musicians and their work.
        “Copyright cannot be some arbitrary compensation model. For artists to receive an equitable stake It must take into account the alternative streams of income that technology destroys.”
        Will Buckley, Founder, FarePlay

  2. Visitor

    Is this guy Adrian Brigham based in the US? Because if he is in the EU, I would gladly spend the ~500 Euro required to get a police notice against him, valid for all EU countries.
    This is textbook crime admitted via email.

    • Casey

      Asking someone to write a positive “opinion” statement about your company is a textbook crime? What world do you live in?

      • Jason

        Adrian is a friend of mine and I will not stand by and watch him be attacked.
        Adrian has always expressed his views on supporting Pandora and if you ask me it’s his right to do so. He has no personal gain from sharing his opinions. I think we should hear him out and listen to what he has to say.
        I do not support Pandora but I am willing to hear my friends opinion and stand by it. Everyone has the right to express their opinions. I may not agree with his opinions but I am willing to hear him out.
        Are you afraid his opinions may be right or that he may show the value of Pandora?

        Jason

        • Jay

          Oh he’s a friend of yours? Well that makes all the difference….wait, who are you?

          • Jason

            Jay:

            My name is Jason Ventura and I am a member of the Music Industry Professional Forum on LinkedIn. I can easily be found on LinkedIn or on Google. Feel free to contact me. We fight the same battle, I just feel like you do not see the big picture here.

        • Casey

          I hope he does show the value of Pandora. Pandora is constantly being listed as a completely free version of Spotify that pays less, and it is truly nothing of the sort. It’s an entirely different product with an entirely different purpose. Spotify is meant to replace music sales, no matter what Ek says. Pandora is meant to compliment sales and replace an existing product on the market that also compliments sales; terrestrial radio. There is zero evidence that Pandora has hurt sales and a significant amount of evidence showing otherwise.

  3. Dave

    Your piece makes it seem like Pandora is trying to draft its own responses/ opinion pieces and pass them off as if they were written by other people. That’s not what these emails indicate. There is nothing wrong with asking people who you know to be supportive of your position to lend their perspective to the debate.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      I’ll let people decide if they think it’s good or bad behavior (or something in-between).
      One point worth noting: this is political gamesmanship; this is how operatives and lobbyists and political strategists pull their strings. Identifying a sympathetic, active voice and corraling it, in preparation for the next attack isn’t about listening to what is actually said in that next attack.
      I’ve never seen Pandora really have an honest dialogue with someone like Pink Floyd. For example, what if the letters that Tim Westergren is sending to artists are actually misleading? I think they are. So why not change them, and make them more transparent?
      Instead, we see these detailed rebuttals appear, sometimes out of nowhere on sites you’ve never heard of, suddenly pushed to the fore. They attempt to discredit a band like Pink Floyd, instead of engage in dialogue. The same can be said for a long list of writers, musicians and other artists that have protested.
      This is about lowering royalties, lobbying, and cashing out millions. Billions are on the line; it’s not a dialogue anymore.

      Written while listening to (and watching) Haim and Grizzly Bear.

      • Sshtokhusen

        Please explain how are you engaging in the dialogue by posting things like this that are obviously adversarial to the sender and Pandora (as you are attempting to discredit his opinion- which he formed BEFORE Pandora even emailed him).

        • Paul Resnikoff

          “you are attempting to discredit his opinion – which he formed BEFORE Pandora even emailed him”
          I think you’re missing the point. I’m not trying to discredit his opinions. In fact, I’ve offered to publish his opinions (please see thread).
          What I’m highlighting is how his opinions are being manipulated and positioned against the ‘other side,’ whether that is Pink Floyd or the ‘next Pink Floyd’.
          Changes things, doesn’t it?

      • Antinet

        The details and back and forth of these discussions are giving me a headache.
        Whom do I trust more – Pink Floyd or a tech jockey looking to when he gets to cash out his company for billions?
        Having seen the kind of robbery happening on the photography side of the Internet and how they’re also a bunch of friendly, gladhanding thieves, its pretty obvious that the digital content industry is either blatantly lying or deluded beyond hope, and its essentially the former.
        I’ve watched photo agents in meetings online try to explain why photographers should give away all rights to their news imagery for 48 hours with NO tracking and NO sales reports, and then they’ll get paid out of a magical pool at the end of the monty, TBD by the business. These photographers get a check for 6 dollars, and these moronic young go-betweens get sworn at in a conference call, and get offended that people got into a business ‘that isnt known for its pay’ but of course their salary and benefits are negotiable to the upside. Then that business gets bought by one of the two giant megaconglomerates. Its all robbery, and these tech jerks at the helm, being manipulated by bigger mobsters at the top, need to be 100% boycotted by all content creators. You have to keep looking for other outlets and other ways to make a living while you do what you love. Simple as that. THe technology has at least made the production side more efficient if you know what you’re doing.

      • Lance

        I’ll let people decide if they think DMN is engating in good or bad behavior (or something in-between).
        One point worth noting: DMN engages in political gamesmanship; this is how operatives and lobbyists and political strategists like the RIAA pull their strings. Identifying a sympathetic, active voice and corraling it, in preparation for the next attack isn’t about listening to what is actually said in that next attack.
        I’ve never seen DMN really have an honest dialogue with someone in the digital music business. For example, what if the articles that DMN is publishing are actually misleading? I think they are. So why not change them, and make them more transparent?
        Instead, we see these endless, factually-incorect attacks appear, pushed to the fore. They attempt to discredit any digital music outlet – and even those that simply provide search engines, instead of engage in dialogue. The same can be said for a long list of writers, musicians and other artists that have protested.
        This is about trying to prop up an out-dated business model which is going to die (with, or without the existence of Pandora or Google), lobbying, and trying to help the RIAA preserve millions. Billions are on the line; it’s not a dialogue anymore.
        Written while watching “Hypocrites.”

        • Paul Resnikoff

          Oh it’s on Lance! I’m gonna be Mad Libbing all over your next comment…
          Better sleep with one eye open.
          Written while listening to “Word Problems” by deadmau5

  4. Russianista

    Write badly about Pandora and you get Swift-Boated. Nigel Godrich wrote about these intimidation tactics.

  5. mtn1987

    They are doing that same exact things that ASCAP and the major labels are already doing. What people haven’t cleary understood yet, is that Pandora pays *per user*–they can tell you exactly who listened to which song, when and how many times. Can a radio station do that? Radio stations pay based on a general audience during a general time–not per every single play, per station, per person that heard it. So according to the math, Pandora actually pays more than radio (in theory.) Albeit, to the artist, either model only nets pennies, unless you are Beyonce. Pandora’s main problem is that it has a communication problem, not necessarily a bad business model, even though it’s not the best.
    As an artist myself (also on Pandora, and who sees small returns from said site) my bigger beef is with streaming models in general, including Spotify, whose business model supply is from artists, and who get millions in funding, and billions of stock value, while paying the artists crap. You know what, Pandora & Spotify? I’d rather have some stock, instead of fractions of pennies per play. If you are basing your net worth on the value of music, then treat the music like it’s really worth something. I’ll take on some of that risk, as I’m clearly more invested in my own music that you are.
    Another missed player in the argument–labels and the PROS in all of this. Anybody really know why the labels left their PRO affiliations? To negotiate directly with Pandora and other like services—at a much lower rate then before (thereby paying less to artist, btw.) And the PROS haven’t said boo to the media about it. And they are supposed to be protecting their artists.
    The whole thing stinks. Hasn’t the whole ‘streaming’ model been de-bunked regarding that the “exposure for new artists translates into new fans, = more sales”? It doesn’t. Thom Yorke just slammed Spotify for that reason.
    I’d really love a clear, well researched article explaining all sides of this issue, rather than headline-grabbing blogs that portray the easy bully vs artist picture. I’m NOT pro-Pandora. I am pro-artist, and the only thing that IS clear in this argument is that streaming services are not helping all musicians (whether indie or ‘major label’), they are essentially getting cheap labor (music) and reaping big rewards for their shareholders.

    • Visitor

      Publishers are pulling their digital rights from the PROs, not labels…publishers/writers are represented by the PROs, whereas labels/artists are represented by SoundExchange. From what I’ve heard, publishers are have pulled digital rights so they can negotiate BETTER deals with the select large music services. I believe the opinions of the publishers is that the rate courts which set the license fee rates for ASCAP and BMI have driven down the rates to the point where publishers believe they can negotiate better deals in a free market rather than a court imposed rate.

      • David

        My understanding is that PROs operate under strict rules set up by DOJ. They are not Allowed to comment publicly.

  6. well looky

    Why astroturfing exposes your business to legal risk (hint: because it’s illegal)

    “The fallout continues following yesterday’s exposure of lobbyists boasting about the ‘dark arts’ they employ on behalf of clients, including the manipulation of Google results for relevant search terms. One of the claims which seems to have fuelled much indignation from commentators is that the agency sets up networks of fake blogs to publish positive content about clients, in order to ensure that people searching for the client’s name on Google will be presented with mostly positive results.
    This practice is often referred to as astroturfing (fake grassroots campaign, geddit?) and needs to be carried out on a vast scale and sustained over a long period of time to be at all successful. Because of this, it’s not an especially cost effective tactic for most businesses.
    But efficacy aside, the main point I wanted to make is that astroturfing is flat out illegal in the EU and the US, if it’s done to promote a brand or product.* The EU Directive on Unfair Commercial Practices (2005) outlaws a number of activities around the idea of brands misrepresenting themselves online, which includes posting fake consumer reviews and astroturfing. A similar law exists in the US, and in a high profile 2009 case a plastic surgery firm was fined $300,000 for breaking it.
    What’s surprised me is that for all the angry shouting about this issue over the past couple of days, few people seem to be aware that it is already illegal for brands to use these kinds of tactics. I imagine this is a result of the social media land-grab that’s taken place over recent years, which has seen a lot of PR professionals repositioning themselves as social media experts, perhaps without fully understanding the new digital landscape in which they must operate.
    The bottom line is that if your business employs these tactics, then it is exposed to legal risk and you should re-evaluate your digital comms strategy immediately.

    *Doing it for political purposes is a different game entirely, and one which I’m not qualified to comment on from a legal perspective, but it’s definitely deeply unethical whichever way you look at it.”

  7. THE ARTIST

    Question is how do we organize to take our power back from companies like Pandora, Spotify etc and furthermore get fair compensation everywhere else including terrestrial radio and online radio? How do we prevent new musicians who keep tossing their music up for free because they don’t recognize the value of it, if the modern crap even has any at all? How do we prevent our great songwriters from becoming extinct because of greedy corporatists? We need to organize and push a movement to take our power back. I refuse to market my music on Pandora or Spotify and similar streaming sites because I’m smart enough to know a rip off when I see one. And I don’t mind foregoing the publicity I could be getting. I’m not that vain that I will sacrifice my hard work to make corporate fart heads millions while I get crumbs. Ridiculous. Unite! Organize! Demand Change! Corporatists are already mobilizing and scheming to profit from your labors. That applies to every creative property.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Nathan Hubbard, CEO of Ticketmaster, could emerge as an important champion of musician unions and collective rights. He is already rattling some cages on this (more ahead).

      • Ellen Shipley

        Well, Paul..let’s have a barbecue and invite him! Seriously–I have never seen a group of people so weakened by the years of intimidation incurred at the hands of the various power players in the Music World– who have been stealing songwriter’s royalties in the most inimaginable ways their whole careers. This has resulted in just a few of us “songwriters” opening our mouths against crooks like Pandora –to start with. The lack of support by my fellow songwriters and their response of thunderous silence is historically motivated by their “fear”– thrust upon them by the Music powers– from the record executives to the publishers, from the managers, independent producers, etc–in a doctrine “we” memorized and obeyed which outwardly expressed respect and concern for the very people who are the foundation of why songs are here on this earth YET, laid out in no uncertain terms that we were really “lucky” to be allowed to write and have a song recorded; that we were so low on the food chain, that “anyone”could do out job and therefore, we were beholden to them all. Recording artists should be allowed to take parts of our publishing income even if they did NOT write the song as were the “producers” who could “get us somewhere” in our career;and what about the record Executive who could get us a “really great cover” IF we cooperated and gave up more publishing percentages–how about the publishers we made deals with? Well, add $30,000 to your spending budget every three years–that’s when you audit your publisher who will disagree with the findings of an independnt auditor YOU are paying and then will settle on some amount of money THey think is fair—it’s always less, in case you were wondering. Did I get threatened? LIed to? Manipulated into thinking I was just so lucky to be in the music world? DId I capitulate to ridiculous demands for percentages of my work? Was I scared my kids wouldn’t eat if I didn’t find a lawyer who liked me enough to get me a pUblishing deal for less money than I deserved? Did I spend NINE years at a PUb Company that kept me from leaving even though I RECOUPED two years into my deal and became ill? Yes–they kept me because I owed them a couple of songs….Did I make millions for them? Yes–Did they care? No–and in response to all the other questions, We All were told that’s the way it is for songwriters—
        SO, Paul—screw Westergren and his merry bandits, and Google with its huge house built of piracy blocks, and all the rest of the thieves who do dishonor to us and to themselves!
        WE NEED A LEADER< LEADERS! So--bring'em on and at least some of us will charge at the forts! AND--thanks for being bright, witty, informative and having he patience to wade through this! Much respect Ellen Shipley

  8. jon

    Pandora has basically replaced dmx and other foreground music companies in supplying music to retailers/bars/restaurants. That WAS a multi-million dollar business for dmx/muzak/aei and others. If Pandora wants to be in a freemium business, that is their right….but it is not their right to do it with other people’s property. Sorry, if you aren’t going to charge for listening to my music, then don’t bitch to me that you should be paying me less…less than the miserably small fee you already pay.

    • Casey

      Pandora hasn’t done that at all. In fact it is not even legal to use Pandora in public places unless you buy a special version of their service and few seem to be interested. If anything SiriusXM has done that. It is by far one of the most affordable and simple solutions available.

    • hippydog

      Quote ” Pandora has basically replaced dmx and other foreground music companies in supplying music to retailers/bars/restaurants”

      wow. a whole lot of misinformation all in one one post..
      AND NONE OF IT CORRECT..
      but the post did make me think..

      WHY doesnt Pandora (or spotify, or whoever)
      start including the smaller broadcasting licenses in with their agreements with the artists?
      I know I lot of people are thinking ‘who cares’, but trust me.. you want a lot of guaranteed, long term, PAYING subscribers?
      Sell their service to the bars and restaurants, halls etc.. (I realize pandora partnered up with DMX, but Im kinda suprised they didnt do it on their own)
      after a quick google it looks like Sirius has been doing this directly for awhile (but then they have always acted like a full fledged terrestrial radio replacement)
      maybe thats the key.. ANY streaming service needs to start thinking about all the espects of broadcasting if they want to be a ‘serious’ contender ;-)

      • jon

        My observation is that at least half a dozen businesses (clothing chains, restaurants, coffee shops that I’ve visited in 4 cities) are playing Pandora stations through their instore systems. Several of those had dmx boxes or other foreground gear. I always ask and employees of two of the chain stores told me that they take turns choosing Pandora stations and that employees of at least some of the other stores in the chain do the same. (they had worked at other stores.)

  9. Radio & Records Vet

    The solution some of you are looking for is right in front of your eyes. Do not do business with people you do not trust, and who’s service you do not want to be a part of. Do not look to force others to pay more for your product than they are willing to, however.

    You don’t need Spotify. You don’t need Pandora. Do you?
    You don’t need radio. You don’t need YouTube. Do you?
    You don’t need that room with the stage and PA and concession stand. Do you?

    As a “local” artist consultant, I advise on business strategies damned near every day. What is essential to the arguement, at a local level, is your ability to build a base of business. Of the many many of musicians I’ve engaged with, only the barest handful – <1% - actually make enough from live performances and cd/dl sales to be able to perform full time, without a "day job" not attached.

    Pandora will never pay you what you think you deserve. Pandora provides a service, and like ANY other business will seek to get the lowest price possible on goods, services, and labor costs. That's business. I've owned a few... I always fought to lower my labor costs - and my supplier prices.
    I know what I'm saying will be met with derision. Oh well ... LOL.

    • teexpo

      Ah!!wisdom rears its head…………truer words were never spoken.

    • Faza (TCM)

      That’s a sensible point, if not for the whole “compulsory license” bit.
      See, Pandora brought it on themselves by way of IRFA. They were trying to be too cute, by half and now it’s time to feel the burn.
      I do agree about Spotify – there’s no good reason for an artist to make their music available on that service (labels are a different story, if they’re big enough). Radio can be good – if you can get it – not so much for the money (especially in the US, unless you’ve got songwriter credit), but for the promotional value. YouTube you can probably do without, but the trick is staying off – isn’t it?
      In short: the main complaint, I think, is that we’ve pretty much lost any say as to who we do business with. That’s a good reason to get worked up.

    • Frank B

      you make good points, but the compulsory license is the wild card. It’s a license for Pandora to steal. It removes the concept of negotiating in good faith from the picture. Pandora provides a service which they negotiate a price for but the government gives them a BIG hammer. It’s like bringing a knife to a gunfight. Record Labels, publishers and individual artists are not able to have a negotiation where good faith is a key ingredient…

  10. Frank B

    Almost comical that this person makes the statement “the artist’s attacking pandora aren’t looking at the business side of the equation”
    As if the artists and songwriters were not business people themselves. It’s like the author of this post thinks its just a hobby for the songwriters and performing artists and they should not comment about the real business side of it when all they do it create the content.
    Leave the money to the business people….

  11. Adrian Brigham

    I’m surprised DMN ran this without asking me or even contacting me but let me set the record straight. First I volunteered to write the article which I am going to do, but I just haven’t had time. Tim and I discussed some ways we could help, as an independent agency, to get the other side of the story out, and he suggested writing an article as an independent. I contacted DMN and a few other sites to ask if they would have an interest and they all said yes. I guess DMN just couldn’t wait.
    Let me make it quite clear this isn’t Pandora colluding in the background and planning some secret scheme. Tim has no idea what I’m going to write and didn’t give me any orders or information. I am honestly writing this because there are an awful lot of artists that do not understand all of the implications of this issue, and perhaps if they take a broader view they might think a little differently. For now though everyone will have to have a little more patience because I’m really busy with several other projects. I’ll get to it though.

    • Russianista

      “Tim asked me to write something they could use when attacked”
      Genius move Pandora. The person doesn’t even know they are the pawn and even thinks they are not the pawn.

    • D/N

      “Tim and I discussed some ways we could help, as an independent agency, to get the other side of the story out, and he suggested writing an article as an independent. ”
      So Pandora is paying you and your company then? Be truthful these things have a way of coming out.

      • Paul Resnikoff

        No disrespect to Adrian, but it’s a fair question…

  12. Michelle Shocked

    I’m a victim of these targeted attacks by astroturfers. After a social media tsunami tried to drown me in charges of ‘homophobia’ while the real criminals got away with IP theft I took the fight to Twitter. For whatever is left of my credibility -likely not much – I’ll continue to insist that this is greed couched as political gamesmanship. Follow the money – it speaks for itself.