Good news: Pandora is scheduled to come to the stock market with a “secondary offering”, meaning the company is essentially having a second IPO. According to the Wall Street Journal:
The Internet radio company and its venture-capital backer Crosslink Capital Inc. are slated to offer 14 million shares late Thursday[, i.e., tomorrow], a stake that was worth $336 million when it was announced after Monday’s close.
So music is good business, right? It sure is–for everyone but the songwriters and artists.
In case any songwriter wondered, Pandora has more money than you and they intend to use it to screw you as hard as they possibly can to enrich themselves.
Today Pandora won a truly Pandora-style “victory” in the ASCAP rate court by getting a federal judge to rule that Pandora–a monopolist in webcasting–can use the out of date ASCAP consent decree to force songwriters to license to them.
And make no mistake–this is a very important case to Pandora because the one way that songwriters have of getting out of the trap inside Pandora’s house of cards is to say no and refuse to license to Pandora. And “no” is the one thing that Pandora can’t have you say because their only product is music. The government granted them an effective monopoly on webcasting and Pandora intends to keep it that way.
READ THE FULL POST HERE AT MUSIC TECH POLICY:
MORE HERE AT DIGITAL MUSIC NEWS:
Amazing the lengths Tim Westergren and Pandora are willing to go to, to attack artists…
Accordingly, Pandora is taking steps to have well-written, careful responses ready to go within 24 hours in places like Digital Music News. Most importantly, the response needs to come from a source not affiliated with Pandora (or, so it seems…)
READ THE FULL STORY (AND EMAILS) AT DIGITAL MUSIC NEWS:
The Verge reports on the battle over internet royalties…
Pandora struggles to win hearts and minds because its leadership lacks credibility, and has also been utterly inept at pitching the company’s plan to the public, press, and Congress. Pandora failed to generate congressional support to lower royalties last year and unless the company’s leadership dramatically changes its strategy, the popular radio service doesn’t appear to have a prayer of getting help from Washington any time soon.
Michael Pachter, a research analyst with Wedbush Securities, believes Pandora will eventually thrive but that its attempt to legislate lower costs is misguided. “The bill is idiotic,” Pachter said. “It’s insulting to Congress to say you want regulation to lower your costs at the expense of artists. Did you see who was on stage with Obama helping him campaign? Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen. That’s the Democrats, and how many Republicans are going to want to legislate against capitalism and the free market?”
RED THE FULL STORY AT THE VERGE:
Songwriter, Musician and Label owner Blake Morgan gained national attention through his email correspondence with Tim Westergren regarding Pandora’s attempt to manipulate musicians into signing a letter that would reduce their own royalty payments. Blake returns with a new editorial in the Huffington Post.
Instead of lobbying Congress (as you have) to lower Pandora’s rates, honor the rates Pandora, artists, and labels agreed upon together for Internet radio hand-in-hand with Congress in 2009. It’s an agreement artists went into with you in good faith, that already dramatically lowered the rates Pandora had to pay. It’s an agreement Mr. Westergren himself applauded at the time, famously and happily announcing on his own blog, “the royalty crisis is over!” It was also an agreement we were all supposed to continue honoring together, until 2015.
Instead of taking provocative action and purchasing a tiny radio station in the country’s 255th largest market (as you just did in an attempt to qualify as a terrestrial radio company and not have to pay a performer royalty), take different, provocative action. Stand with music lovers and music makers in reasonably and rationally arguing that terrestrial radio has never paid its fair share, and it’s time it did. And then to show you mean it, sell that station.
READ THE FULL EDITORIAL HERE AT THE HUFFINGTON POST:
As a songwriter Pandora paid me $16.89* for 1,159,000 play of “Low” last quarter. Less than I make from a single T-shirt sale. Okay that’s a slight exaggeration. That’s only the premium multi-color long sleeve shirts and that’s only at venues that don’t take commission. But still.
Soon you will be hearing from Pandora how they need Congress to change the way royalties are calculated so that they can pay much much less to songwriters and performers. For you civilians webcasting rates are “compulsory” rates. They are set by the government (crazy, right?). Further since they are compulsory royalties, artists can not “opt out” of a service like Pandora even if they think Pandora doesn’t pay them enough. The majority of songwriters have their rates set by the government, too, in the form of the ASCAP and BMI rate courts–a single judge gets to decide the fate of songwriters (technically not a “compulsory” but may as well be). This is already a government mandated subsidy from songwriters and artists to Silicon Valley. Pandora wants to make it even worse. (Yet another reason the government needs to get out of the business of setting webcasting rates and let the market sort it out.)
Here’s an idea. Why doesn’t Pandora get off the couch and get an actual business model instead of asking for a handout from congress and artists? For instance: Right now Pandora plays one minute of commercials an hour on their free service. Here’s an idea! Play two minutes of commercials and double your revenue! (Sirius XM often plays 13 minutes and charges a subscription).
I urge all songwriters to post their royalty statements and show the world just how terrible webcasting rates are for songwriters.
The revolution will not be webcast.
* I only own 40% of the song, the rest of the band owns the other 60% so actually amount paid to songwriters multiply by 2.5 or $42.25)
** I am also paid a seperate royalty for being the performer of the song. It’s higher but also what I would regard as unsustainable. I’ll post that later this week.
For frame of reference compare Sirius XM paid me $181.00
Terrestrial (FM/AM) radio US paid me $1,522.00