Musicians group takes potshots at Pandora


PandoraThe musicFIRST Coalition says that a very fine debate transcript can be assembled featuring statements from Pandora honcho Tim Westergren alone – simply alternate statements he made in 2009 with those he’s making today.

The organization noted the emails Pandora has been sending out urging Pandora registrants to support the Jason Chaffetz bill aimed at leveling the digital royalty playing field.

Musical interests have a problem with the bill because it saves internet portals cash directly at their expense.

musicFirst is amazed that Westergren sees the Chaffetz bill as an existential matter, since it was just three years ago that he was hailing a deal with musicians that was supposed to have staying power. Following the 2009 agreement, as noted by musicFIRST, Westergren said, “For more than two years now I have been eagerly anticipating the day when I could finally write words: the royalty crisis is over! It has been resolved with “a thoughtful and reasoned outcome under the circumstances. Pandora is finally on safe ground with a long-term agreement for survivable royalty rates. This ensures that Pandora will continue streaming music for many years to come!”

The upshot is that the organization can’t help but wonder why Westergren is so determined to get a new deal all of a sudden after being so happy about the previous deal.

Far from being in trouble, insists musicFIRST, it is growing rapidly and appears to be in excellent health.

RBR-TVBR observation: The goal here should be to find the pivot point – that beautiful royalty percentage that allows music-playing websites – not just Pandora – to thrive. It would not only good for the sites, whether they are internet only or tied to a broadcast or other outlet – it would also be good for musicians, who may quite well with increased exposure, collecting both a higher volume of spins and earning that much more free promotion.

If internet audio sources are smothered before they get a chance to get going, buried under excessive royalties, nobody wins. The sites will be gone, and musicians will get zero exposure and zero cash.

There is a tipping point here, and it would be best for all concerned to find it.