Roger Waters, David Gilmour, and Nick Mason joined together for a cause close to their hearts: Royalty payments to artists, as streaming-music service Pandora lobbies Congress and the public to lower mandatory licensing fees.
“Nearly 90% of the artists who get a check for digital play receive less than $5,000 a year,” the trio wrote in a recent USA Today editorial. “They cannot afford the 85% pay cut Pandora asked Congress to impose on the music community.”
Worse, the rock musicians — some of the most commercially succesful ones ever — claim Pandora is “tricking artists” by keeping a sign-on letter intentionally vague about plans to reduce payouts.
A full copy of a letter Pandora has been circulating to artists was posted online — and drew scorn among artists.
Singer/songwriter David Lowery wrote a blog post detailing his Pandora-derived income for his songwriting, stating that after a million streams of the 1993 hit song “Low,” he was paid $16.89.
“Less than I make from a single T-shirt sale,” he wrote. “Okay that’s a slight exaggeration. That’s only the premium multi-color long sleeve shirts and that’s only at venues that don’t take commission.”
The fact that Pandora’s now asking for more favorable rates leaves him incensed.
“Here’s an idea,” he wrote. “Why doesn’t Pandora get off the couch and get an actual business model instead of asking for a handout from congress and artists?