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Pandora Responds to Lowery with Another Riddle Wrapped in an Enigma

June 26, 2013

According to Venture Beat, Pandora has responded to David Lowery’s highly factual post about his share of songwriter earnings from “Low” with this statement:

“Mr. Lowery’s calculations grossly understate Pandora’s payments to songwriters. In truth, Pandora paid many times more in songwriter royalties to play the song referenced in his article. The post also neglects to mention that the rates Pandora pays were set by the very organizations that represent songwriters and publishers. These organizations – BMI and ASCAP – are the very same groups that recently agreed to a long-term licensing agreement with the terrestrial radio industry to pay songwriters significantly less than Pandora.”

Look again at the first two sentences.  First sentence “Mr. Lowery’s calculations grossly understate Pandora’s payments to songwriters.”  What does that even mean?  Lowery can’t read his own royalty statement?  This makes no sense.

But the second sentence is where the truly crafty deception comes in: “In truth, Pandora paid many times more in songwriter royalties to play the song referenced in his article.”  That is an odd choice of words.  If what they meant was Lowery can’t read his statements, why not say that?  If they meant they paid more to BMI on a prorata basis than Lowery was paid by BMI, why not say that?  They didn’t.

When you first read that second sentence, or if you read it quickly, you might think it meant that Pandora paid many times more than David received for the song at issue, that is, for “Low”.  But that’s not what the sentence actually says.  It says Pandora paid many times more in songwriter royalties to play the song.  That is, for the right to play the song.  And how would they get that right?  Since all the writers of “Low” are BMI members, Pandora would have to have a blanket performance license with BMI.

So read the sentence again: “In truth, Pandora paid many times more [than what Lowery was paid] in songwriter royalties [to BMI in total in order to have the right] to play the song referenced in his article.”

Well no kidding.

These people either can’t speak English or they are truly desperate.

You decide.

But whatever they are trying to say, what they want is to pay songwriters even less than the current rates.  That is a fact and it is not disputed.

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