ASCAP, musicFIRST Take Exception To Pandora's FM Buy
June 13, 2013 at 12:10 PM (PT)
On TUESDAY (NET NEWS 6/11), ALL ACCESS reported that CONNOISSEUR MEDIA was selling Hot AC KXMZ (HITS 102.7)/BOX ELDER-RAPID CITY, SD to PANDORA for an undisclosed price. The deal offers PANDORA the ability, it believes, to be eligible for lower broadcaster rates on royalty fees as covered in the RADIO MUSIC LICENSING COMMITTEE's settlement with ASCAP that allows broadcasters to offer separate online-only streams covered by the lower rates, as iHEARTRADIO enjoys for its non-customizable streams.
PANDORA then ran an op-ed in the daily congressional newspaper, THE HILL, which has prompted as response from ASCAP Pres./Chairman and songwriter PAUL WILLIAMS. He writes:
"Songwriters and composers are struggling in the digital economy to be paid fairly for their creative work. PANDORA is trying every trick in the book to brazenly and unconscionably underpay and take advantage of the creative labor that produces the core offering of their business -- music written by individual songwriters and composers. ASCAP has an ethical obligation to serve and protect the hundreds of thousands of small and independent songwriters, composers and music publishers we represent to ensure that they receive fair compensation when their songs are performed on any technology platforms. Internet and traditional AM/FM radio services are very different businesses with different formats, using music in very different ways. PANDORA’s claims against songwriters and publishers further proves the importance of ASCAP’s mission to protect the human rights of its songwriter and composer members to be treated fairly by businesses that publicly perform their music in this new digital era."
Read WILLIAMS' full speech here.
musicFIRST Isn't Happy Either
MUSICFIRST also opined about PANDORA on their blog, asking "How Low Can They Go?"
MUSICFIRST writes, "This has to be some kind of sick joke. PANDORA bought an FM radio station to game the system in order to pay songwriters less? PANDORA continues to find new ways to give artists and songwriters a raw deal from the bottom of the deck. In their race to the bottom to see how little they can pay music creators, they have stooped to misleading legislation, bait and switch petitions, and now fronting as an FM radio station.
"I thought they wanted to 'disrupt' terrestrial radio, not BECOME it. While others negotiate with music creators as partners, PANDORA has committed itself to a war on all fronts. We know they will keep pushing to cut performers pay by as much as 85% in the so-called IRFA legislation and they will continue to send out sign-on petitions to indie artists that obscure how those artists' names will be used. But if they are willing to buy an FM station to game the system, who knows what they will do next?
"It doesn’t matter. Music creators stand shoulder to shoulder in fighting these tricks. At the same time, they give lipservice that they 'value' music creators. Sounds familiar. Defensive much?"