Pink Floyd Op-Ed: 'Pandora's Internet Radio Royalty Ripoff'
But Is Radio's Royalty Exemption Also In Their Crosshairs?
June 24, 2013 at 3:58 AM (PT)
Three members of the iconic Classic Rock band, PINK FLOYD have made their opinions known in an op-ed piece in USA TODAY, weighing in on royalty rates on webcasters. ROGER WATERS, DAVID GILMOUR and NICK MASON write, "Great music can inspire deep emotions, and businesses have long sought to harness this power in order to make money. Nothing wrong with that -- everyone deserves to make a living -- but too often it leads to less than scrupulous behavior. The latest example is how PANDORA is pushing for a special law in CONGRESS to slash musicians' royalties -- and the tactics they are using to trick artists into supporting this unfair cut in pay."
The trio notes, "It's a matter of principle for us. We hope that many online and mobile music services can give fans and artists the music they want, when they want it, at price points that work. But those same services should fairly pay the artists and creators who make the music at the core of their businesses. For almost all working musicians, it's also a question of economic survival. Nearly 90% of the artists who get a check for digital play receive less than $5,000 a year. They cannot afford the 85% pay cut PANDORA asked CONGRESS to impose on the music community."
"We've heard PANDORA complain it pays too much in royalties to make a profit," continues the PINK FLOYD members. "(Of course, we also watched PANDORA raise $235 million in its IPO and double its listeners in the last two years.) But a business that exists to deliver music can't really complain that its biggest cost is music. You don't hear grocery stores complain they have to pay for the food they sell. NETFLIX pays more for movies than PANDORA pays for music, but they aren't running to CONGRESS for a bailout. Everyone deserves the right to be paid a fair market rate for their work, regardless of what their work entails."
So is there a compromise to be made? WATERS, GILMOUR and MASON conclude, "We're not saying that the music business is perfect or that there is no room to compromise. Artists would gladly work with PANDORA to end AM/FM's radio exemption from paying any musician royalties -- a loophole that hurts artists and digital radio alike."