ASCAP not buying Pandora’s FM ploy


ASCAPPaul Williams, president of composers rights organization The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, says that music offered on the internet is different from that offered over the air, and the ownership of one FM radio station in a small market isn’t enough to change the deal for music use on the Pandora platform.

Williams said in a statement, “Songwriters and composers are struggling in the digital economy to be paid fairly for their creative work. Pandora is trying every trick in the book to brazenly and unconscionably underpay and take advantage of the creative labor that produces the core offering of their business – music written by individual songwriters and composers.”

Williams continued, “ASCAP has an ethical obligation to serve and protect the hundreds of thousands of small and independent songwriters, composers and music publishers we represent to ensure that they receive fair compensation when their songs are performed on any technology platforms.”

He concluded, “Internet and traditional AM/FM radio services are very different businesses with different formats, using music in very different ways. Pandora’s claims against songwriters and publishers further proves the importance of ASCAP’s mission to protect the human rights of its songwriter and composer members to be treated fairly by businesses that publicly perform their music in this new digital era.”

RBR-TVBR observation: It does seem like Pandora is attempting to get in on a tax incentive to protect the environment by buying a Prius, and then saying, “and while we’re at it, why not apply this tax rate to my Hummer?”

We know Pandora is trying to model its composer royalty rate structure on that paid by iHeart, but the two companies are not mirror images.

This is definitely an area that will bear watching.