Pandora continues to ask for heat on legislators


PandoraPandora’s Tim Westergren recently asked us to contact one of our state’s US Senators about the Internet Radio Fairness Act. Now the “Pandora Team” has made the request again, asking us to join the tens of thousands who have already done so.

“We need your help to end discrimination against Internet radio,” they said, and then asked us to contact Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), telling him, “I support the Internet Radio Fairness Act, bill number 3609.”

We have been given information to send either an email or a tweet to Burr.

“The bipartisan bill will correct the incredible inequity in how different radio formats are treated under the law when it comes to settling royalties,” we are told. “In 2011, Pandora paid over 50% of our revenues in performance royalties, while SiriusXM paid less than 10%.”

The bill, initially put into play by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and introduced in the Senate by Ron Wyden (D-OR), would level the playing field between most non-broadcast music platforms, and has gained the support of the broadcast industry.

Musicians oppose it, since it levels the playing field by lowering internet radio costs at the musicians’ expense. And at least one analyst suggested that one of the reasons Pandora pays such a high percentage of revenue is because it simply doesn’t sell as much advertising, giving it the programming advantage of providing a more satisfying consumer experience.

Pandora obviously wants this issue a close to the front burner at possible – the letter concludes, “It’s crucial that Congress hears from fans of Internet radio now. Thanks for your support.”

RBR-TVBR observation: One thing about lame duck sessions – they are incredibly unpredictable. This bill could be seen as a non-partisan no-brainer that is passed with little debate; it could be seen as of no consequence and allowed to wither; it could easily be buried under a heavy slate of more weighty legislative matters; it could be tagged as an amendment on any number of omnibus bills or in a conference committee session; or it could be kicked forward to 2013. It will be interesting to see if it, or the competing Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) bill go anywhere in 2012.