MTP readers will remember the short lived legislation to lower artist royalties that Pandora backed last year. That was called the “Internet Radio Fairness Act” and it never came to a vote. The House IP Subcommittee held a hearing at which, I think it is fair to say, Pandora lost and lost big.
We Will Not Be Moved
This was in no small part to two things: Artists came together: 125 artists came together to sign an open letter to Congress that supported digital music but rejected Pandora’s lust for profits.
Songwriters also came together and a group of them performed at the House offices to demonstrate how the songwriter royalties that Pandora pays are grotesquely out of whack. (Right after Pandora, Clear Channel and Google joined together to use their lobbying clout on that legislation, Pandora also sued songwriters to get a lower royalty for them.)
The other event was that independent artist David Lowery of Cracker and Camper van Beethoven challenged Senator Ron Wyden at the Future of Music Policy Summit about the Pandora legislation–and Wyden really didn’t have much of a response.
In short–the artists locked arms and said we will not be moved.
Pandora’s Bait and Switch Campaign: Pandora Wants to Cut Royalty Payments But Nancy Tarr Doesn’t Tell You That
Pandora got the message–they are now trying to drive a wedge between the stars who are having what passes for hits these days, and the independent artists who aspire to have hits or to at least make a living. How are they doing this? By dangling the bait of “promotion” in front of artists who yearn to break in.
Here’s how it starts. An independent artist will receive this email from Nancy Tarr at Pandora (who lists herself as a “grassroots” consultant to one of the biggest spin factories in DC):
Dear <firstname><lastname> I hope you don’t mind this unsolicited email. I’m reaching out to introduce myself and to start a conversation with you about your music on Pandora and about some broader policy issues.
Tomorrow–Baiting and Switching