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Hey Jeff - How come this article doesn't suggest doing the same for iHeartRadio, Sirius Satellite and other digital broadcasters who already enjoy much lower rates than Pandora? Every terrestrial broadcaster streaming online is already taking advantage of the legal loophole you spoke about. How come this article isn't focusing on the fact that all of these companies already receive this benefit? Why are you singling Pandora out?


Until 100% of the acts signed to major labels do this, I'm gonna take my scraps, as I definitely get more feedback from fans (old and new!) mentioning they hear my music on Pandora.

When terrestrial radio was the only game in town, I was shut out of using that type of medium to get my music heard. With Pandora, sure, I'll get 2 cents instead of 5 cents. Big deal. People can hear my music there and the service has, to a certain extent, leveled the playing field.

Do I agree with what they're doing in regards to the lobbying, etc.? Absolutely not.

But I'm not gonna be the kamikaze pilot sacrificing my 'airtime' so that Lady Gaga can get paid more.

(Side note: Be an independent artist and ATTEMPT to get hold of an actual human being at ASCAP or BMI. Those companies are just as corrupt.)


"Members of Congress, and in particular Republicans, need to understand that a belief in property rights and market processes can't be selective. They should end compulsory licensing now."

Jeff Lies

What a load of ignorant self-serving crap STEEPED IN RIAA lies!!!. Tunecore and audiem hypocrite.

Pandora's FM radio purchase, ensures they pay the COMPOSERS, SONGWRITERS AND PUBLISHERS the EXACT same amount as every other radio station already does. The performers earn the higher congressional negotiated rates that are also not in parity with Satellite or terrestrial.

This screed is intentionally misleading, conflating the interest of the artists with those of middleman like the author Jeff Price, et al. And he's doing it all just for the sake of the artists..... nothing mercenary here at all.

As an independent artist, who was forced to enroll with ASCAP and BMI, I despise the bullshit and false info the status quo middlemen are proffering.


If Pandora pays the songwriters the same rate as the radio stations and satellite do, which is less, and internet performance royalties are still paid at a higher rate than radio or satellite, which is more.
Does that mean Jeff Price and his organizations that "make money off the backs of the artists" get paid less?

Henry Chatfield

I think the main issue is that it is, in fact, unfair that terrestrial radio does not have to pay performance royalties. That be said, the solution is NOT for Pandora to lower their performance payouts, but for radio to start paying theirs! I really don't undertand why this issue isn't cut and dry and simply resolved. The only conclusion I've come to is that the lobbyists for big radio aren't allowing that to happen.

Additionally, the only argument I can find in defense of terrestrial radio not paying performance rights is that it provides free promotion for the recording artist. With that logic, Pandora can make the exact same argument, which I believe is why they think they have the right to pay less, rather than being in favor of radio paying more (which I think is wrong).

Here's a really simple unbiased article talking about the difference in the payouts for anyone who doesn't understand it: http://digitalcowboys.com/2013/06/06/4345/

The bigger issue with Pandora, though, is that I think that they just don't have a very functional business model based on ad supported revenue, especially -- as Jeff points out -- as a publicly traded company. And it's driving them to some pretty bizarre, off the cuff actions, in my opinion, like buying that terrestrial radio station to try to lower their rates.

On top of this, their main executives consistently cashing in on millions of dollars in stock options doesn't exactly exude confidence in the future outlook for the company.

It also doesn't help when people like the president of ASCAP, Paul Williams, are making blanket statements like "Internet and traditional AM/FM radio services are very different businesses with different formats, using music in very different ways." Like what?...care to elaborate even just a little dude?

Zoe Ship

If you really represented the artists interests, you would be arguing for higher royalty rates across the board for internet, terrestrial and sat., not just for internet.

Could it be that the very record labels also own the lions share of terrestrial stations?
Nah, that's just coincidence.


Would be great if you could link anything backing these assertions up. Instead of anonymously calling someone a liar.

Steven Cravis

I have a question: Is the big Pandora cut in pay hitting Songwriter/Publisher/Performing Artist/Rights Owner, or only hitting Songwriter/Publisher?


You cannot skip a song? You cannot choose a starting artist? Thats very different in my eyes...

Henry Chatfield

Those certainly are differences, but still not adequate justification for terrestrial not to pay performance royalties.


Well said..! I'm glad you voiced your opinion. I'm no artist but I'm a fan of great music. I want the artist to win always. Reading what you thought helps me understand just what artist I care about have to deal with.

Bill From SC

Lordy may...so much mis-directed venom and misinformation in your piece Jeff.

Wake up, smell the coffee, and do some solid homework on this issue and the markets past, present, and future.

It's mind-blowing that someone like yourself who should be genuinely plugged into "the new business" of digital music distribution & royalties is too lazy to dig deep enough into the truth of the matter.

Your attack on Pandora is extremely misguided and short sighted mate. In a nutshell, the black hats on horseback are terrestrial and satellite radio chief!

Why are you seemingly so content griping about a relative trickle when the the got damn dam is breaking all around you?

Terra radio is riding the royalty train virtually free of charge & Sat radio gets an enormous discount in the dining car. WTF?

Instead of you telling artists to cut off one of their hands already in the bush, tell them to rise up and direct their efforts in a much more forward thinking and profitable direction.

Advise them to tell the powers at be to level the playing field so the royalties are divvied up equally across the board. Then, this conversation goes away and the artists will get paid beyond a wet dreams.


I fid it amazing that Jeff Price, founder of a company that is based around ripping off artists, is criticizing Pandora. This is a guy who charges ridiculous annual rates to indy artists with ongoing annual fees in perpetuity. And if you don't pay your annual fee 5 or 10 years down the line, you our out of there. Contrast this with an ethical company like CD Baby. Tunecore is a NYC hustle. His new operation is trying to enter a space that Rumblefish has been in for 15+ years- and CD Baby artists automatically get sync royalties monitored and collected by Rumblefish. But I guess the same suckers to went for Tunecore will go for this new scam.

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