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We Pay Artists Radio Won't Play


Pandora founder Tim Westergren wants artists to know his creation is the way consumers are getting their music and they should learn to love that. He writes in his latest blog, "Artists, this is your future. Own it." As part of his ongoing mission to lower the fees Pandora pays to play music, Westergren points out that Pandora will pay obscure and unheard of artists like Donnie McClurkin, French Montana, and Grupo Bryndis well over $100,000, "for the music we play to their large and fast-growing audiences."

Westergren says, "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 a one-year period, over 2,000 artists will receive $10,000 dollars each from Pandora and more than 800 artists will be paid $50,000. For the major players like Coldplay, Adele, Wiz Khalifa, Jason Aldean, and others Pandora is already paying over $1 million each. Drake and Lil Wayne will make nearly $3 million.

Westergren writes, "Pandora was founded on the principle of supporting artists and we're proud to pay performance fees. We think artists could and should ultimately earn even more. But all of this revenue is coming from a single company. A predatory licensing fee orchestrated over 10 years ago by the RIAA and their lobbyists in Washington has devastated Internet radio. Few now deem it worthy of major investment, including, most notably, virtually every major broadcaster. After spending years building an audience, the original three largest webcasters (AOL, Yahoo! LaunchCast, and MSN) fled the business after the last rate hike was imposed. This is not a recipe for a sustainable industry. It is a destructive stranglehold that is putting at risk a much larger reward for musicians everywhere."

"Making performance fees fair for Internet radio will drive massive investment in the space, accelerating the growth of the overall sector, and just as importantly accelerating the development of new technology that leverages the incredible power of the Internet to build and activate new audiences. That's where the great opportunity lies in the long run. The short-term reduction in revenue would be rapidly swamped by the overall growth of the sector. Imagine the impact on artists if this industry grew to become 25 percent or even 50 percent of radio listening."

(10/15/2012 2:42:16 AM)
RIAA will milk this golden goose until Pandora dies or is forced to sell itself. They never thought a company like Pandora would survive this long, those fees were designed to prevent or destroy. Reduction of these rates should be bundled with a requirement for including and activating the FM chip in all mobile devices, not just cell phones but tablet computers too. That should satisfy radio folk that they are being thrown a bone and not just under the bus while Pandora innovates and prospers.

- Bruce N. Goren
(10/10/2012 2:38:20 PM)
Hopefully these payments go straight to the artist and not to the record company who would strip it down to nothing leaving the artists scraps as usual.

- Peter Blood
(10/10/2012 1:01:54 PM)
Way to go Westergreen!

- Eric Tadros
(10/10/2012 11:42:11 AM)
I've recently matured beyond the much sought after 25-54 family reunion target demo. Even as a close minded old guy I have to admit that Pandora has introduced me to some bands that now populate my itunes library because of their sound rather than their marketing enertia.
Seems there should be a commission based revenue stream possible for terrestrial radio and the various digital distribution platforms to earn a piece of for their direct influence on sales volume. Historical play list records, market based zip codes for retail and IP addresss for downloads create a trackable conversation starter.

- JS
(10/10/2012 11:09:46 AM)
Wow! That's amazing support for artists like us.

Someone our there Is puting artists first ! ;-)

We've submitted our material to Pandora however we are still awaiting a response.

We are an independant duo working without major AirPlay. A little support from you guys would truly help.

Thanks In advance

Daniel Tadros

- Daniel tadros

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