Pushing The Internet Radio Fairness Act, Tim Westergren Blogs About Pandora's Financial Support Of Musicians
October 10, 2012 at 3:55 AM (PT)
In a blog post, PANDORA founder and Chief Strategy Officer TIM WESTERGREN writes that even lesser-known artists can make six-figure salaries from PANDORA alone. He writes:
"Have you heard of DONNIE MCCLURKIN, FRENCH MONTANA or GRUPO BRYNDIS? If you haven't you're not alone. They are artists whose sales ranks on AMAZON are 4,752, 17,000 and 183,187, respectively. These are all working artists who live well outside the mainstream -- no steady rotation on broadcast radio, no high-profile opening slots on major tours, no front page placement in online retail. What they also have in common is a steady income from PANDORA. In the next 12 months PANDORA is on track to pay performance fees of $100,228, $138,567 and $114,192, respectively, for the music we play to their large and fast-growing audiences on PANDORA.
"And that's just the tip of the iceberg. For over 2,000 artists, PANDORA will pay over $10,000 each over the next 12 months (including one of my favorites, the late jazz pianist OSCAR PETERSON), and for more than 800 we'll pay over $50,000, more than the income of the average American household. For top earners like COLDPLAY, ADELE, WIZ KHALIFA, JASON ALDEAN and others PANDORA is already paying over $1 million each. DRAKE and LIL WAYNE are fast approaching a $3 million annual rate each.
"This revenue stream is meaningful. I remember the many years I spent in a band when earning an additional thousand dollars a month would have been the difference between making music an avocation and a hobby. We're talking here about the very real possibility of creating, for the first time ever, an actual musicians' middle class."
While WESTERGREN certainly is proud of his company's support of musicians, he's also using the opportunity to point out that PANDORA, and many other webcasters such as iHEARTRADIO, are forced by the RIAA to pay higher fees to musicians than traditional FM radio. The company is on a major push to its listeners of the "Internet Radio Fairness Act," sponsored in the House by Reps. JASON CHAFFETZ (R-UT), and JARED POLIS (D-CO), and in the Senate by RON WYDEN (D-OR). The bill would require that the COPYRIGHT ROYALTY BOARD use the same standard for setting rates for paying performers as it does for satellite and radio -- and would require that COPYRIGHT ROYALTY BOARD judges have a minimum level of experience and be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.