Archive for the ‘Pandora Shakedown’ Category

More on Pandora’s Bait and Switch Campaign

June 12, 2013 Comments off

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

How the Rate Court Cottage Industry is Leading to the Destruction of Collective Licensing

January 19, 2013 1 comment

The news that Sony/ATV made a direct deal with Pandora produced some strangely paranoid chatter in the echo chamber.  Sony/ATV can bring Pandora to their knees, getting around the rate court, etc.  I think it’s actually much simpler than that.

What appears to have happened is quite simple–Sony/ATV opted out of letting ASCAP and BMI license their catalog (which now includes EMI so is really quite massive).  This is perfectly legal, nothing shady, although a bit unusual.  They’ve announced they intend to take some digital licensing in house, so everyone should have expected this was coming.

It is perfectly legal because of the antitrust consent decrees that ASCAP and BMI operate under.  A condition of these consent decrees is that every affiliate of ASCAP and BMI retains the right to “opt out” of the blanket licenses (and rates) offered by these societies.  No reason need be given–it is a right that all enjoy.  (SESAC is a private company that does not (yet) operate under a consent decree.)

If a publisher opts out of one license or type of license, they can remain in the blanket license for all other licenses that are in place.  So for example, Sony/ATV can opt out for Pandora, but stay in for broadcast radio or venue licenses.

Why might a publisher opt out of a blanket license?  One reason is financial–they don’t have to pay the PRO collection fee on that revenue stream.  But another reason is that if they stay in the blanket license, then they are subject to rate court proceedings brought against the PRO if negotiations with a licensee (say Pandora) fail.

Rate court proceedings were relatively rare occurances prior to the arrival of Big Tech in our lives.  They have become increasingly common and almost always involve digital services.  In fact, they almost always involve the same lawyers representing the digital services.

Rate court proceedings cost a lot of money.  Millions in legal fees.  And the twist is that if you stay in the blanket license, ASCAP and BMI pretty much have no choice but to submit to the rate court proceeding which is required by their respective consent decrees.  So in this way while the PRO licenses are voluntary–not statutory like the compulsory mechanical license–and the rates are not set by the Copyright Royalty Judges–because they are not statutory rates–the rates are set by U.S. Federal District Courts sitting as rate courts.  (For example, Judge Stanton is the BMI rate court judge in the Southern District of New York.  MTP readers will remember him as the judge in the Viacom v. Google lawsuit who handed Google a complete victory over Viacom at trial in an opinion I found meandering and bizarre, which subsequently was substantially overturned on appeal.)

Rate court proceedings are in many ways similar to the Copyright Royalty Judges and take into account a variety of economic factors, including market rate deals for the same type of license.

Blanket licenses issued by the PROs are one of the great efficiencies in music licensing.  Rate court proceedings gum up the works and undermine the benefit of lower transaction costs in collective licensing.  I wonder if at the end of the day when one takes into account the legal fees and transaction costs concerned when Big Tech fights negotiated rates whether anyone actually comes out ahead.

Meaning if you compare the position of the parties before the rate court black hole and the ultimate rate imposed by the rate court, did the Big Tech company that used its litigation budget to force songwriters into the rate court proceeding actually end up better off?  Or did they just get their jollies from dragging songwriters through costly litigation so that the next time around the PROs were more likely to acquiesce?

One thing that you often hear these Big Tech types say about their direct licenses is that songwriters are better off to not be represented by PROs because even though the direct license rate is lower, it’s more than the songwriter would get through the PRO because they don’t have to pay the PRO “commission”.

Of course, the other benefit from PRO licensing that songwriters get that isn’t discussed is that the songwriters can audit collectively under the PRO’s blanket license.  Big Tech companies hate audits.  The more direct licenses, the less likely that any one songwriter will ever exercise an audit right.  And eventually the audit right will be withdrawn (as is already happening with the YouTube indie publisher license).

So how does this effect Sony/ATV?  Recall that Pandora sued ASCAP in the rate court to try to screw songwriters right about the same time they began their campaign to screw artists in the Congress with the so-called Internet Radio Fairness Act.

If I had to bet, I would bet that Sony/ATV said enough of this BS and withdrew from ASCAP and BMI for purposes of licensing Pandora.  That takes Sony/ATV out of the rate court.  They made a deal with Pandora for a higher rate and shorter term than will ultimately come down in the ASCAP rate court.

Note:  Of course, ASCAP may be able to use the Sony/ATV deal as evidence of a significant market rate for the Pandora service in the rate court, even though Sony/ATV is not party to the case.

Pandora had the choice of excluding all Sony/ATV songs from their service or make a direct deal with the publisher.  And now that Pandora has made that deal once, they will always.

And that’s really all there is to it.

But–if Pandora had not been advised to go to the rate court, would Sony/ATV have made the same decision?

Is Pandora lucky that Sony/ATV didn’t just opt out of the ASCAP and BMI blanket licenses and not license Pandora at all?  That would probably have brought down the service.

And–given the antagonism that was heaped on Pandora by songwriters from outside the US, will the societies representing these songwriters elect to opt out of the reciprocal agreements they have with ASCAP and BMI regarding Pandora and just not license Pandora?

Will other publishers follow Sony/ATV and avoid the rate court?  Won’t that mean that the cost of the rate court will be shared by an ever smaller group of songwriters forced to litigate by Big Tech?

One thing we don’t need is less efficiency and higher transaction costs in music licensing.  Most Big Tech companies and their shills whine about fragmented music licensing, yet the same people drive up those transaction costs while enriching a small group of lawyers who undermine the benefits of blanket licensing.

Do these Big Tech companies have the right to do this?  Sure.  Does it benefit them in the long run to jack songwriters around?  Not really.  If there’s anyone who has an existential threat from Big Tech it is the professional songwriter, often overlooked yet the most important part of the equation.

Continually trying to jack these people around accomplishes one thing:  It hastens the day of full commoditization of culture by Big Tech.  This is what they may think they want, but I would suggest to you that they really don’t.

So they may have the right to do it, but that doesn’t make it smart.  But then I’m just a country lawyer and I’m not as smart as these city fellers.

You can’t blame Sony/ATV given their options.  I’d have done the same.

IRFA and the Future of Music Policy Summit: Why Would FOMC Miss An Opportunity to Defend Artist Rights?

November 10, 2012 3 comments

“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment or diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

Adam Smith, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations

The Future of Music Policy Summit will convene for the 12th year on November 13.  The Internet Radio Fairness Act will be front and center–both Pandora Founder Tim Westergren and Senator Ron Wyden have been added in the last few days and they are not there to talk about the weather.  Or stock options.

When FOMC first started, it was viewed as a grass roots organization and the policy summit was a new idea–bring current issues in the music industry before the Washington, DC policy environment.  New faces appeared on the panels as well as familiar ones.  A mix of Members of Congress and bureaucrats showed up as well as a bunch of…well, people from the Berkman Center and their pals. (Full disclosure, I was once a member of FOMC’s advisory board and resigned in 2006 after I read a book called Free Culture written by another advisory board member and got the global view of the harm to artists that Lessig caused when I spoke at an OECD conference on digital stuff that year.  Better late than never.)

That Was the FOMC That Was

I would say that the shining moment of FOMC’s ability to effect positive change to help artists was the payola hearings when the FCC went after Clear Channel mostly.  Those hearings resulted in a settlement that was at least designed to help indie artists and labels.  FOMC wasn’t alone in this (A2IM, the Recording Artist Coalition and the Songwriters Guild of America also played key roles), but they were there.

The sponsors for this year’s summit are a sad commentary on what has happened since then–New American Foundation (of which Google’s Eric Schmidt is a director), the Open Technology Institute (which shares a website with the New America Foundation), Google itself, Public Knowledge (which is funded in part by Google) and the Consumer Electronics Association (of which Google is a member).  There are other sponsors, like Pandora, for example, but one is struck by just how many Google connections there are to the event.

It’s Hard to Say No to the Gang of Many

And of course, Google figures large in the coalition of Big Tech and Big Media behind the Internet Radio Fairness Act and the Internet Radio Fairness Coalition.  That trade association is dedicated to jointly benefiting from pricing–its members include Pandora, the Consumer Electronics Association, the Digital Media Association (of which Google is a prominent member), the Computer & Communications Industry Association (of which Google is a prominent member), as well as the National Association of Broadcasters of which Clear Channel is a member.

If you look down into the overlapping membership of these organizations, they include all of the tech oligarchy that Eric Schmidt recently called the “Gang of Four.”  You won’t be surprised to know that the companies that are members of the Internet Radio Fairness Coalition (or are members of their member trade associations) have a market cap of over $1 trillion.  That can be pretty intimidating to a little nonprofit.

It appears that the cross-industry Internet Radio Fairness Coalition (formed over the summer to lobby for IRFA) would like everyone to think that their organization is all about setting prices, also known as royalty rates.  This price and standard setting group alliance would be based on their shared goals in standard setting, lobbying and issue advocacy, all of which would seem to require that the members of the coalition share considerable amounts of business information.  How could they not?

So what these overlapping sponsorships, associations and interests suggest is that some of these guys might see the FOMC policy summit as an opportunity to push their wares–and their Internet Radio Fairness Act.  And it would be understandably hard for a non-profit to say “no” to the desires of the sponsors of their signature programming event for the year.

But–IRFA Is Not Just About Price Setting: Chilling Speech and Court Packing

Characterizing the IRFA as being exclusively about royalty rates would be a big mistake.  Sure, the pricing and standard setting that the Internet Radio Fairness Coalition seeks to engage in is in the proposed Internet Radio Fairness Act, but there are many other significant and, in the view of many, insidious parts of the proposed bill.

These would include the provision that would allow any of the Big Tech or Big Media companies–including monopolists like Google, Clear Channel and Sirius XM–to bring actions under the antitrust laws against any group of sound recording owners, big or small.  (For a good analysis, see “Muzzling Free Speech By Artists” on The Trichordist.)

The proposed Internet Radio Fairness Act would also gut the Copyright Royalty Judges and create a tortured system of appointments that smacks of court-packing.

Has Big Tech and Big Media Captured a Musicians Event?

So let’s have a look at the topics that FOMC is going to cover on IRFA:  First up, a cozy “conversation” with Pandora founder Tim Westergren:

Internet radio service Pandora seems to be constantly in the spotlight — from its initial public offering last summer to the current debate over royalty rates. There is little doubt that Pandora is a leader in the online radio market, and that’s what’s driving so much of the attention. How does the company balance its growth trajectory against its obligations to artists and rightsholders? What does sustainability look like in the broader webcasting sector? Learn more about Pandora’s positions and how the company sees the future of internet radio in this interview with Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren and the Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot.

Tim Westergren Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Pandora Greg Kot Chicago Tribune music critic

So–do you think that Tim Westergren is going to talk about the Internet Radio Fairness Coalition’s price and standard setting, or do you think he’s going to talk about packing the Copyright Royalty Judges and the chilling effect of threatening to sue artists for antitrust violations?

Greg Kot is one of our great and distinguished music journalists, but does he have the expertise to address the full scope of the proposed legislation and the impact of the Internet Radio Fairness Coalition on setting prices and standards?  Does he come ready to ask probing questions of Tim Westergren about artist rights?

Next up is this panel:

Radio-active: Internet Broadcasting and Artist Compensation –

Today, fans have more ways than ever to discover music, and radio — whether webcast, satellite or good old fashioned over-the-air — is a major driver. But radio isn’t just about finding new sounds; it’s also a source of revenue for composers, songwriters and performing artists. But not all broadcasters pay all creators, and some don’t pay at all. Additionally, the uneven royalty obligations [no spin there, oh, no] among digital broadcasters have some complaining that the current rate-setting process is unsustainable. The recently-introduced Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA), seeks to abolish the current rate-setting standard for webcasters — including the popular “predictive radio” service Pandora [and what about Clear Channel?]. There is tremendous controversy around how this move might impact artist compensation, as the bill’s approach to lowering webcasting rates is to move the royalty to the standard used for satellite radio. The bill’s supporters say this will help grow the market and provide more earning opportunity for musicians. Critics say that there is no way such a move does not result in a substantial reduction of revenue for artists. Meanwhile, terrestrial radio still doesn’t pay performers or labels. Many would agree that parity among radio services is a worthy goal. [What is “parity” supposed to mean?]   The question is what is ultimately “fair,” and do artists get to have a say?

Kurt Hanson CEO,; Publisher, RAIN: Radio And Internet Newsletter David Lowery University of Georgia/Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven Michael Petricone Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Consumer Electronics Association Patricia Polach Of Counsel, Bredhoff & Kaiser, PLLC, and Associate General Counsel of American Federation of Musicians Colin Rushing General Counsel, SoundExchange Chris Richards Washington Post Pop Music Critic (moderator)

While I’m sure that all the panelists will come loaded for bear, the topic suggests that the panel will focus solely on the price and standard setting that the Internet Radio Fairness Coalition would like to see given effect.  Again, the moderator is a great music journalist, but is it really fair to expect him to discuss the nuances of the bill’s chilling effects and court packing provisions?  And is anyone going to say anything about Rep. Nadler’s bill?

Next up we have the recently added Senator Ron Wyden with a keynote.  I wonder what he might be speaking about?  Maybe he’s going to announce his concerns about the court packing and chilling effects of his legislation and that he’s amending his bill to take out that language.  Maybe?

Taking The King’s Shilling or Artist Advocates?

Here’s what I think:  FOMC has come to an organizational crossroads.  Lots of people think they have incrementally become shills for Google and its pals.  The sponsor lineup for this year’s policy summit does little to dispel that idea.

But I have hopes for FOMC–I remember this statement about Clear Channel from the payola hearings:

[Following Clear Channel’s recent settlement of a payola investigation with the FCC, Clear Channel (and other broadcasters) agreed to air 4,200 hours of indie music.  The Future of Music Coalition commented at the time:]

Clear Channel is giving indie artists a raw deal by forcing them to give up performance royalties as a condition of getting airplay on its hundreds of stations. Remember, as a condition of its settlement with the FCC over payola allegations, Clear Channel and other broadcasters were required to play 4,200 hours of local and indie music. It’s replacing one form of a payola with another.

Sneaky. Greedy. Egregious. Any number of pejoratives could be used to describe the move, but it is especially troubling because digital performance royalties are becoming an ever more important source of revenue for artists as technological changes drive the way music is delivered….This is a company that is not — and has never been — on the side of artists.

[According to FOMC’s former executive director,] “’The fact that Clear Channel would require artists to waive royalties to get consideration for airplay clearly shows they’ve learned little from the payola scandal of the last couple years,’ said Jenny Toomey, executive director of the Future of Music Coalition. ‘Clear Channel is playing the same old tune.’”

I’d like to see that FOMC again.  I would like to see that FOMC use its policy summit to hold Tim Westergren’s feet to the fire about his cozy collaboration with Big Media and Big Tech, demand that Senator Wyden explain himself, and condemn IRFA’s obscene encroachment on artist rights.

Or maybe ask the Internet Radio Fairness Coalition to really level the playing field and all agree to conduct themselves in compliance with the FCC’s payola rules regardless of whether the rules technically apply to them.

In other words–do something.

But then I’m funny that way.

If you want to voice your opinion on IRFA, Senator Ron Wyden has a comment page on his Senate website click here.

Big Tech’s Inverted “Bump”: When demand goes up, royalties go down

November 8, 2012 Comments off

Greg Sandoval has an interesting article today (“Web Radio Growing Faster Than On-Demand Services“) that points out another clear example that the new boss is worse than the old boss.

It has been a time-honored tradition in record deals (and many other types of creator contracts) that if your record has success, your royalty rate increases incrementally.  These are called “bumps.”  For example, a 16% artist royalty would increase to 17% at 500,000 and then to 18% at 1 million.  (Of course in contemporary record deals, those sales bumps would be much lower, closer to 100,000 and 250,000–in fact, as low as you can get them.  While the principle of reward for good performance is the same, the thresholds are much lower.  Why might that be do you suppose?)

Pandora, Google, Sirius, Clear Channel and their Big Tech and Big Media pals are proposing a different approach–the inverse bump.  If you are popular, your rates will go down.

Is this why Tim Westergren drones on about the “middle class artist”?  Because he doesn’t want you to be too successful?

Think about this when Pandora gets done with their ASCAP lawsuit against songwriters.  That ASCAP check?  Great news, you were successful on Pandora, so they cut your royalties.

If you want to voice your opinion on IRFA, Senator Ron Wyden has a comment page on his Senate website click here.

A Good Deal To Do: Pandora Doubles Down Against Creators, Now Strikes At Songwriters

November 6, 2012 5 comments

“You work hard, madame,” said a man near her.

“Yes,” answered Madame Defarge; “I have a good deal to do.”

“What do you make, madame?”

“Many things.”

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

According to Bloomberg News, Pandora has opened a new front in its war on creators–now the $2 billion “music company” is suing songwriters represented by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.  And let’s be clear about exactly who the real defendants are in Pandora’s case.  Pandora and its venture capitalists and Wall Street underwriters may be suing ASCAP, but the people that Pandora is really suing are the songwriters whom ASCAP represents.

Why?  ASCAP is a voluntary association of songwriters in which songwriters pool their resources to grant blanket licenses and collect revenues.  So when you hear these inane statements like “Every Time A Phone Rings, ASCAP Won’t Get Its Wings” from faux copyright experts like the Amerikat, just remember–ASCAP is songwriters.  ASCAP is able to issue licenses because its members authorized it to do so.  The ASCAP board is elected by its members, not anointed like the Creative Commons board.  So when Pandora sues ASCAP it is really suing songwriters.

(And who wants to bet that Pandora’s lawyers (who also represent Google) will make more money off of suing ASCAP than Pandora will ever save in lower license fees even if Pandora is 100% successful? And ASCAP’s cost of litigating the rate court will have to be paid by ASCAP, making the ultimate royalty rate much lower even if ASCAP is 100% successful.  Boy have we seen that movie before.)

They Hate It When You Organize

If it wasn’t clear before, the Pandora lawsuit against ASCAP brings into sharp focus the purpose behind one part of the Internet Radio Fairness Act:  Section 5(a), which allows Pandora, Google, Clear Channel and their fellow travelers to sue any group of creators acting jointly to license their rights.  How can creators be sued by these gigantic companies?  Why under the laws designed to protect us from monopolists, of course.

You caught the irony there, right?  Google and Clear Channel are using Pandora as a stalking horse to sneak through laws that would allow monopolists to sue any group (however small) that got in their way, artists, labels or otherwise.

It will be a short step to get Chaffetz (RINO-UT) to broaden his bill to allow anti-monopoly suits against songwriters who get in the way as well.  So it should not be a surprise that Pandora is now suing ASCAP–Google’s own Madame Defarge has been down this path before, too.   One can just imagine her hissing at Tim Westergren over her knitting.

“Bravo!” said Defarge…”you are a good boy!”

As Tim Westergren told Ben Sisaro of the New York Times (speaking of IRFA), “This is not an argument about going out of business.”  That’s exactly right, it’s an argument about how to profit Pandora by extracting yet more money from songwriters and recording artists.  Pandora, Sirius XM, Clear Channel and many others you see, all enjoy a “compulsory” license for sound recordings under Section 114 of the US Copyright Act (a “114 license”), meaning that the government has taken away the right of recording artists to refuse to participate in Pandora’s offering.

Every license–even compulsory ones like the 114 license–have to have a royalty rate.  In the case of the 114 license, that royalty rate is set by the Copyright Royalty Judges, but has historically been negotiated privately and then submitted to the judges for approval.  At a very high level of generalization, that’s similar process to the rate negotiations in the ASCAP blanket licenses.

What’s interesting about the ASCAP blanket license is that while it is not a compulsory license,  the blanket license, in its own way, is a kind of government license.  This is because ASCAP operates under an antitrust consent decree and its rates are either negotiated, or, if you have particularly intractable people like Pandora and Google, it ends up in a “rate court.”  In ASCAP’s case, that is a federal judge sitting as the decider on whether the rate is fair.  (This particular judge recently ruled in favor of Google in the Viacom v. YouTube case only to be overturned on appeal.)

Google’s own Madame Defarge is no stranger to the rate court, so it should not be surprising that Pandora has thrown in its lot with Google with Mr. Chaffetz’s IRFA bill, and now is following the bloody footsteps of Madame Defarge in suing ASCAP songwriters in the rate court.

The one difference, of course, is that in order to protect companies who want to use the songs under ASCAP’s blanket license–say Google, for example–from the vicious monopolistic tendencies of songwriter groups–you know how they can be, these all powerful songwriters–the consent decree allows songwriters to “opt out” of the blanket license if they file certain paperwork.

One can’t help but notice that opting out of the blanket license for Pandora is the one thing that an artist/songwriter can do to keep Pandora from playing their records if that artist feels like Pandora is jacking them around.  On the one hand, the artist/songwriter cannot stop the use of the recording.  On the other hand, the songwriter/artist can opt out of any license granted by their PRO, which presumably would prevent Pandora from playing the recording.  Or Clear Channel, or Sirius XM.  (It’s likely that a songwriter could opt out of just the Pandora license if they wanted to.)

Alone, Powerless and Broke

These suits against songwriters and legislation against recording artists are the latest examples of the heavy handed approach of the new boss in the digital animal farm.  Definitely worse than the old boss.  Some commentators seem to think that the Chaffetz legislation is “good for the music business” because–and you can just hear it coming–a rising tide carries all boats.

If the Pandora lawsuit against songwriters tells you anything, it tells you that some boats are more equal than others and Pandora is throwing songwriters and artists over the side.  What these companies really want is for creators to be (or at least feel) alone, powerless and broke.

But you can just look on in shock and awe at the Pandora juggernaut.  They have a good deal to do.

For them.

If you want to voice your opinion on IRFA, Senator Ron Wyden has a comment page on his Senate website click here.

Getting IRFA’d: Pandora Lobbyists Shakedown Continues as The National Association of Broadcasters lines up to oppose artists–again

October 1, 2012 Comments off

Remember that the United States is one of a handful of countries that deny artists a performance royalty for sound recordings on broadcast radio.  Those radio stations–through their lobbyists the National Association of Broadcasters–are lined up behind Pandora on the “willing shakedown” legislation carried by Reps. Jason Chaffetz, Jared Polis and Google fanboy Senator Ron Wyden.  (This according to Politico’s Morning Tech):

PANDORA ‘FRIENDS’ BROADCASTERS ON NET RADIO BILL – The Internet radio company is pushing for legislation that would give parity to webcasters on royalty rates paid to artists. A bill that would have accomplished as much never made it to the floor last Congress – but this time, the Internet radio crowd can count on the broadcasters to help gin up support.

Eliza Krigman reports on the shift: “Back in 2009, NAB was singing a different tune when Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) championed the Performance Rights Act.

That bill would have required broadcasters to pay artists for music played on FM and AM radio, and included a compromise aimed at lowering the royalty rate for Internet radio companies.

The NAB fought against that bill …. But the new bill, dubbed the Internet Radio Fairness Act, does not address the performance fee for AM and FM radio. That frees up NAB to lend their support this time around.”

In an operation run by K Street lobbyists for Pandora’s Wall Street buddies, we should not be surprised.

Fortunately, the Musicians Union has posted a letter  you can send to your representatives if you want to oppose IRFA.

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