Rihanna among 125 artists battling Pandora over royalties

Titled “A Musician’s Perspective on Pandora”, the two-page letter criticizes the Internet radio giant for seeking a lower statutory webcasting royalty.

“Why is the company asking Congress once again to step and gut the royalties that thousands of musicians rely upon?” the letter demands. “That’s not fair and that’s not how partners work together.”

The list of signatories to the letter sounds like a “Who’s Who” of the music industry and includes Rihanna, Katy Perry, Don Henley, Journey, Brian Wilson, Missy Elliot, Billy Joel and Camper Van Beethoven, whose singer David Lowery has been a vocal critic of Pandora and the proposed legislation it supports.

The rising tensions surround the Internet Radio Fairness Act, a bill that would implement a new standard for setting statutory royalty rates paid by webcasters.

Pandora is one of many webcasters that takes advantage of the Section 114 compulsory license that allows webcasters to operate by paying a statutory royalty to Sound Exchange, the organization that collects digital performance royalties for sound recording owners, performing artists and featured artists.

A new standard would most likely result in a lower statutory rate for webcasters, significantly reducing the financial compensation artists receive when their work is played over the Internet.

“These artists have joined together to tell Pandora it’s time to go back to the drawing board.  We all want Internet radio to succeed, but it won’t if it tries to do so on the backs of hard working musicians and singers,” said music firsts Executive Director Ted Kalo in a statement.

Re-printed from Caribbean360.com

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