June 14, 2013

The ASCAP Daily Brief for Friday, June 14

The ASCAP Daily Brief

Cutting through the media clutter to bring you relevant news and commentary on the rapidly evolving music industry and how it affects your livelihood.

Late Tuesday, June 11th, the news emerged that Pandora had acquired an FM radio station in South Dakota and simultaneously ran an op-ed on the congressional blog The Hill attacking ASCAP’s efforts to secure fair royalty rates from the music streaming service. The acquisition of the radio station was viewed clearly as a "stunt" to try to avoid paying music creators a reasonable rate. It set off a wildfire of press, and if you haven't been following the story, in today’s special edition I thought I would share with you some of the top news generated by the events of the week.

ASCAP President Paul Williams Responds to Pandora Op-Ed Attacking ASCAP Advocacy
Pandora ran an op-ed in The Hill on Tuesday, June 11th attacking ASCAP's efforts to protect fair compensation for its members from the online music streaming service. Read ASCAP President and Chairman and songwriter Paul Williams's response.

[Kudos to Grammy Award-winning songwriter for strongly speaking up on behalf of his fellow ASCAP members]
Pandora is Stiffing Songwriters
By Josh Kear -- Four-time Grammy Award-winning songwriter Josh Kear (Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood) fired back at Pandora's recent op-ed in Washington DC's The Hill. The bottom line? Pandora is stiffing songwriters. Read his full response.

Tim Westergren’s Mask Is Slipping: Pandora’s Scorched Earth Attack on Songwriters
By Chris Castle -- In yet another disastrous act of misguided desperation, Pandora announced that they purchased a radio station in Rapid City, South Dakota. That’s not South San Francisco, it’s South Dakota–1500 miles away. Why did they buy that station? To somehow try to bootstrap themselves into the most important thing in their miserable lives–paying songwriters less.

More on Pandora’s Bait and Switch Campaign
By Chris Castle -- MTP readers will remember the short-lived legislation to lower artist royalties that Pandora backed last year. That was called the "Internet Radio Fairness Act" and it never came to a vote. The House IP Subcommittee held a hearing at which, I think it is fair to say, Pandora lost and lost big.

Pandora's "Grass Roots" Bait and Switch Part 2: What does Pandora have in common with the Saudi Arabia, AIG and Google?
By Chris Castle -- [Part 2 of 2] Pandora got the IRFA message–they are now trying to drive a wedge between the stars who are having what passes for hits these days, and the independent artists who aspire to have hits or to at least make a living.

CEO of Top Music Publishers’ Trade Group Says Pandora is at War with Songwriters
By Greg Sandoval -- David Israelite, CEO of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) interrupted his state-of-the-industry speech at the group’s annual meeting in Manhattan to lash out at Pandora’s decision to acquire a radio station in South Dakota. "Pandora is going to pursue lawsuits and gimmicks," Israelite told hundreds of songwriters and composers in attendance.

ASCAP to Pandora: Not so Fast
Radio Ink -- The Pandora purchase of a radio station may have been a waste of $600,000. ASCAP EVP of Licensing Vincent Candilora says "The RMLC license was designed for terrestrial radio stations and groups which earned the overwhelming share of their revenues from traditional radio, not an online streaming service that buys a radio station that ranks only 255th in the U.S. market as a ploy to undercut songwriters."

BMI Files Lawsuit to Block Pandora "Stunt"
By Bruce Houghton -- Two days after Pandora bought a small South Dakota radio station in an attempt to lower the rates it pays for streaming music online, BMI filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to allow the performing rights organization to negotiate "market driven" rates.

ASCAP, NMPA Respond to Pandora's Acquisition of Radio Station
By Glenn Peoples -- ASCAP and the National Music Publishers' Association have responded harshly to Pandora's purchase of a small-market radio station in an attempt to lower its ASCAP royalties.

Songwriters, composers hit back against Pandora
By Jennifer Martinez -- The performing rights organization that represents songwriters and composers blasted Internet radio service Pandora on Wednesday, saying the company is "trying every trick in the book" to underpay its members.

Pandora's Boxing: Too Many Punches Have Left It Vulnerable to a Knockout
By Mark Rogowsky -- In Greek myth, once Pandora opens her infamous box, unleashing all of humanity's evils, all that's left inside is hope. For the namesake internet radio pioneer, that metaphor is looking a bit too apt after a brutal week saw the company receive two haymakers, neither of which was unexpected, but both of which are likely to hurt.

Pandora to buy radio station to piggyback onto cheaper costs
By Joan E. Solsman -- The Internet's biggest radio service goes terrestrial with a deal to buy a South Dakota station, which will shave some royalties but serves more as a shot over the bow of copyright holders.

Dean Kay


Dean Kay has been at the helm of some of the most highly respected and forward thinking music publishing companies in the world, first as COO of the Welk Music Group, then as President/CEO of the US division of the PolyGram International Publishing Group, and now as President/CEO of his own precedent setting venture, Lichelle Music Company. Prior to his involvement in publishing, he was a successful songwriter, having had hundreds of his compositions recorded - including "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra. Mr. Kay has been a member of the Board of Directors of ASCAP since 1989. He has served on the Boards of Directors of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), the Harry Fox Agency, Inc. (HFA), the Country Music Association (CMA), the Academy of County Music (ACM), the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP), and the California Copyright Conference (CCC). Click here to read his full bio

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