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Pandora to Pink Floyd: you've been misled about what we pay artists

Pandora to Pink Floyd: you've been misled about what we pay artists


The web's top radio service responds to rock group's critical editorial

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As Pandora and artists prepare to hold talks to see if they can work out their differences regarding royalty rates, the sides continue to fight for hearts and minds.

Pandora has responded to critical statements made last weekend by members of Pink Floyd, the legendary British rock band. The group accused Pandora of trying to dupe artists into supporting the company's effort to reduce the amount of music royalties it pays.

Pink Floyd "have been given badly misleading information" "We have enormous respect for the members of Pink Floyd, and their amazing artistic contributions," Pandora said in a statement issued last night. "We also respect the genuineness of their opinion. Unfortunately, they have been given badly misleading information — the result of a well-orchestrated campaign by the RIAA and their lobbying arm to mislead and agitate artists. A glaring example is the assertion that Pandora supports an '85-percent artist pay cut.' That is simply not true."

Big and small labels, music artists, publishers, and songwriters oppose Pandora's attempts to reduce the amount of royalties webcasters pay. Pandora, the top web radio service, is considering another run at convincing Congress to pass legislation that would set the royalty rate more in line with satellite radio, which pays less than web rivals. Pandora's attempt last year found little support on Capitol Hill.

Pandora is now required to pay either a fraction of a penny for each song play or 25 percent of overall revenues, whichever is higher. In 2012, Pandora paid 0.11 cents per stream. Next year, the cost goes up to 0.13 cents, and 0.14 cents the following year.

"Pandora pays over 4.5 times more in total royalties than broadcast radio."

The good news is that Pandora and groups representing artists and labels are expected to hold formal settlement talks soon, sources told The Verge. Until a settlement is reached, however, expect the parties to continue their debate in public.

"This much is true," Pandora said in its statement. "Pandora is by far the highest paying form of radio in the world and proudly pays both songwriters and performers. For perspective, to reach the exact same audience, Pandora currently pays over 4.5 times more in total royalties than broadcast radio for the same song. In fact, at only 7 percent of US radio listening, Pandora pays more in performance royalties than any other form of radio."

Update: Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren has covered much of the same ground in a lengthy blog post of his own. Westergren calls the accusation of supporting an 85 percent royalty cut "a lie manufactured by the RIAA and promoted by their hired guns to mislead and agitate the artist community."