Reacting to a blog that Pandora CEO Tim Westergren posted defending the company’s position in trying to slash payments to the creators that make Pandora viable, NMPA’s David Israelite observed: “Put simply, Pandora has gone to war against creators of music. For years, they’ve funded a well-orchestrated campaign to lower the amount paid to songwriters and artists… In November 2012, Pandora sued ASCAP to further lower the already paltry rate (only 4 percent of revenue) it pays to music publishers and songwriters. Pandora continues to complain that music publishers and songwriters should not be able to negotiate ‘free-market’ rates and instead remain subject to consent decrees that keep rates [at] below-market levels. Meanwhile, Pandora uses the artists’ and songwriters’ creative content to grow its business and pay its executives millions of dollars. That NMPA, RIAA, ASCAP, BMI, along with hundreds of artists and songwriters have finally started to speak out is attributable only to Pandora’s continued actions against our industry.”

Israelite noted that last year NMPA held a songwriter event at which the organization demonstrated how five hit-making, successful songwriters were paid minimally for millions of play on Pandora. “In the first three months of 2012, five of their hits – arguably the most popular song written by each of them – streamed 33 million times on Pandora,” stated Israelite. “Yest, these songwriters received a combined total of $587.39 for those streams. Even using data provided by Westgren’s ‘independent blogger,’ songwriter and music publisher interests received only $97 for one million streams of a song. By any standard, this is unacceptable.”

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