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NMPA’s Olive Branch to Pandora

September 12, 2013

Pandora, the embattled webcaster, recently announced a new CEO who comes from the advertising sector.  He inherits a pretty awful self-inflicted wound.  I supposed it’s theoretically possible to have made more missteps and mistakes in a business relationship than Pandora has made in its relationships with creators–but I’m not smart enough to figure out how the pooch could be any more screwed than it already is.  Actually–that’s not true.  They could have hired Tim Quirk who would tell us that royalties are a fetish.

Songwriters and publishers have gotten a special performance of the Pandora circus, so I was encouraged by the following letter sent today to Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews from NMPA President David Israelite:

Brian McAndrews
2101 Webster Street, Suite 1650
Oakland, CA 94612

Dear Brian,

On behalf of American songwriters and their music publishing partners, congratulations on your new position with Pandora.  I am hopeful that your arrival can lead to an improvement in how Pandora treats the creators of music – without whom you would have no business.

Pandora streams billions of songs each year to music fans and it has used songwriters’ musical works to grow and succeed as an online music service.  But, instead of working in collaboration with publishers and songwriters, Pandora has turned its back on the very industry that provides the foundation for its success.

Today, for one million plays of our songs on Pandora, songwriters and publishers earn less than $60.  That’s $0.00006 per play.  Meanwhile, Pandora is suing to pay songwriters even less, lobbying Congress for biased treatment, and attempting to use gimmicks to avoid paying songwriters fairly, instead of building business partnerships with songwriters as have many other digital music services.

We in the music publishing and songwriting industry hope that you can guide Pandora away from its shameful treatment of songwriters and towards a relationship that respects our creative contribution through fair compensation for Pandora’s use of our songs.

I welcome the opportunity to meet and discuss the challenges and opportunities we face together.


David M. Israelite

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