Songwriters launch online campaign against Pandora

Pandora is a great way for musicians to get their music heard, but it apparently is not a great way to make money. The world’s largest internet broadcaster has been fighting with songwriter associations over royalties to artists for awhile. Pandora just hired a new CEO and The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) president and author of many 1970s hits, Paul Williams, is hoping the new change will give artists fair compensation for their work.

ASCAP recently finished an online campaign through Thunderclap in support of giving songwriters fair pay for their work. ASCAP obtained nearly 2,800 signatures, including songwriters, for their #StandWithSongwriters Petition which wrapped September 30th. The petition will be sent to new Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews to give songwriters better pay.

The petition claims that Pandora controls 70% of the US streaming market, but while their revenues are growing, they are undercutting the songwriters that put Pandora where they are today. spoke with Williams about Pandora’s unfair practices and says that songwriters are compensated around eight cents per every one thousand plays which is extremely low for such a large company.

“Pandora has 70 million people listening to our music, listening to the best music of our world, and we want them to see them become part of the landscape that lasts forever. We have a slight problem with Pandora because while Pandora manages to gather a great deal of applause for the music they play and the occasional fan mail, the fact is our songwriters cannot feed their families with applause, bravos and fan mail. To put food on the table, to put gas in the car, to buy baby food, we have to be paid fairly for our work. And 8 cents for 1,000 streams is not fair.”

Williams continues by saying that Pandora’s business model has to change in order for everyone to benefit.

“The digital platform is something I look at today and I see vast improvements in the way the system works, everyone from Apple to Spotify. I don’t think there’s a major supplier of music in the world that ASCAP is not involved with and we want to see succeed. But there’s only one organization that is spending millions of dollars trying to pay songwriters less while they talk about being the friend of the songwriter. And that’s Pandora. Their walk is very different from their talk. What we are seeing is a successful Wall Street-traded company that’s bending over backwards to pay songwriters less by litigating in court to reduce what they pay.”

While the Thunderclap campaign is officially completed, ASCAP’s petition can still be signed at their website.

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Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.

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