The rights of songwriters came under attack last fall when online streaming giant Pandora filed suit against ASCAP. Pandora, which controls close to 70% of the U.S. streaming market, refuses to pay fair value to license the hard work of songwriters and is now taking songwriters to court to pay even less. If Pandora wins this legal battle, the outcome will have a lasting effect on the value of songs in the online music streaming marketplace, threatening the livelihoods of thousands of songwriters and composers.
Take a look at Pandora’s aggressive campaign to pay songwriters and composers less:
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Pandora vs Pandora
June 12 - ASCAP President Paul Williams Responds to Pandora Op-Ed Attacking ASCAP Advocacy
Pandora ran an op-ed in the daily congressional newspaper, The Hill, yesterday attacking ASCAP's efforts to protect fair compensation for its members from the online music streaming service. Here is ASCAP President and Chairman and songwriter Paul Williams's response...
June 13 - Top Songwriter Josh Kear Challenges Pandora Op-Ed on Behalf of Fellow ASCAP Members
Four-time Grammy-winner and six-time #1 songwriter Josh Kear responded today to online streaming service Pandora’s recent op-ed attacking ASCAP’s efforts to protect fair compensation for its members in Washington DC's The Hill. As Kear notes in a post to The Hill’s Congress Blog, "a mere four percent of Pandora’s total revenue is spent on licensing public performance rights." The bottom line? Pandora is stiffing songwriters.
June 18 - Get the Facts: Pandora Buys FM Radio Station in Bid to Undercut Songwriters
Pandora recently purchased radio station KXMZ-FM in Rapid City, South Dakota, in a bid to lower the licensing fees it pays songwriters and composers for public performances of their work. Pandora says this will help music creators and listeners, but the facts tell a much different story.
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July 3 - Setting the Record Straight on Pandora
Recently, it seems like you can’t check the news without seeing a story about Pandora and royalties (read all about it on our Get the Facts page). Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of misinformation floating around. So we want to set the record straight for our members.
July 29 - ASCAP Files FCC Petition to Block Pandora's Radio Station Bid
As some of you may have read, ASCAP recently filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), asking that it deny Pandora’s request to buy an AM/FM radio station in Rapid City, South Dakota. We took this step as part of our ongoing efforts to protect our more than 465,000 members against Pandora’s attempts to underpay songwriters and composers.
July 31 - Reps. Blackburn and Chu Stand Up for Songwriters
All of us at ASCAP are encouraged by today’s Op-Ed in The Hill by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA). It recognizes that songwriters and composers, while not always known to the public, are the creative forces behind the music we love.
September 9 - Jimmy Webb Speaks Out: Pandora Payments "Ridiculously Low"
In a recent Q&A with The Huffington Post, veteran songwriter Jimmy Webb spoke candidly about streaming music company Pandora's outrageously low performance royalty rates for songwriters and composers.
September 17 - Songwriters Are Under Attack by Pandora - Speak Out and Sign the Petition
Pandora has launched an aggressive campaign to pay songwriters and composers less. Add your name to our petition asking incoming Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews to stop attacking songwriters, and share the message on Twitter and Facebook
September 18 - ASCAP Responds to Pandora Summary Judgment Ruling
On September 17th, US District Judge Denise Cote issued a ruling in favor of Pandora's motion for summary judgment in rate court. In ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento's response he states, "ASCAP will demonstrate the true value of songwriters' and composers' performance rights."
September 30 - Songwriters and Composer Speak Up and Demand Fair Payment from Pandora
As part of ASCAP's petition asking incoming Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews to stop attacking music creators, we are asking songwriters and composers to writer letters about why getting paid fairly matters to them. Read the responses and write your own.
October 16 - Pandora CFO Tries to Have it Both Ways (and Gets Caught)
By now, we’ve gotten used to Pandora telling the public, Congress and the courts that they can’t afford to pay musicians and songwriters a fair market rate, while its message to Wall Street is that they’re more successful than ever. Take a look at Pandora CFO Mike Herring's most recent round of misdirection and contradictions, and view our "Pandora vs. Pandora" fact sheet for even more.
October 18 - Thousands sign ASCAP's Pandora Petition and Write Passionately About Fair Payment
More than 7,000 people have signed ASCAP’s petition asking Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews to stop fighting to pay songwriters and composers less. Many have also written letters expressing why fair payment now is vital for the future of music.
December 20 - ASCAP Comments on BMI Rate Court Ruling
On December 18th, a federal judge denied Pandora’s motion for summary judgment in the streaming music company’s rate court proceeding with BMI. This ruling, combined with a recent rate court decision in ASCAP's proceedings with Pandora, demonstrates the need to review the consent decrees that govern PRO licensing to ensure they reflect today’s music landscape.
- “Pandora IPO Gives Look Inside the Internet Radio Leader” Billboard, 2/14/11
- ASCAP Internal Calculations, 9/10/2013
- “Tim Westergren Has Dumped More Than $9 Million of Pandora Stock This Year” Digital Music News, 10/30/12
- “Pandora buys radio station in Rapid City, S.D. in royalty fight” Wall Street Journal, 6/12/13
- “Pandora Media Sues Ascap Seeking Lower Songwriter Fees” Bloomberg, 11/5/12
- 1Q2014 earnings release; 2Q2014 earnings release, Pandora Investor Relations, 8/22/13
- “Pandora Removes 40-Hour-Per-Month Limit On Free Mobile Listening” Pandora Investor Relations, 8/22/2013
- “Pandora Reports Record 2Q14 Financial Results” Pandora Investor Relations, 8/22/2013
- Yahoo Insider Transactions for Timothy Westergren, 9/10/2013