Songwriters have a serious problem with Pandora.
And that problem looks something like this:
(photos: Digital Music News, from handout at a recent songwriter protest in Washington, DC)
Songwriters understandably hate this, but they have almost no power to stop it. And the reason is that despite incredibly low payouts, it’s nearly impossible for writers to remove their catalogs from Pandora.
Or, even negotiate better terms.
The complicated explanation has to do with a century of antiquated laws. All of which essentially force songwriters to license their content at fractional rates, and like it.
Last year, a number of prominent songwriters protested on Capitol Hill. As part of delivered emotional performances designed to combat lower royalty rates. This year, they’re exercising the nuclear option by introducing legislation to change the laws.
The bill, introduced this morning, is called the Songwriter Equity Act, with Congressman Doug Collins sponsoring the legislation.
Essentially, the bill attempts to plug two massive loopholes in copyright law that greatly benefit Pandora, while screwing songwriters at the same time. “Roughly two-thirds of a songwriter’s income is heavily regulated by law, or through outdated government oversight,” National Music Publishers’ Association CEO David Israelite told DMN.
“This legislation addresses two significant inequities under current copyright law, both of which prevent songwriters and music publishers from receiving compensation. And it also reflects the fair market value of their work.”
“I fear that without the Songwriter Equity Act, songwriting as a profession will give way to songwriting as a hobby. As a result, an important American treasure will be in jeopardy.”
A copy of the bill is here.
(written while listening to CVRCHES on Rdio using Parrot Ziks)