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Posts Tagged ‘artist royalties’

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

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.

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