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Pandora Wants Radio Stations To Pay For Music, Too 253

suraj.sun sends along an Ars writeup of the lobbying Pandora is doing now that it has secured its future, royalties-wise. Some might think it odd that Pandora is weighing in on the side of the record labels in their fight to get radio stations to pay more for the music they broadcast. "US radio stations don't pay performers and producers for the music they play, but the recording industry hopes to change that with a new performance rights bill in Congress. Webcaster Pandora has jumped into the fray on the side of the artists and labels, asking why radio gets a free ride when Pandora does not. ... With revenues from recorded music sales declining, rights-holders have turned their eyes in recent years to commercial US radio, which currently pays songwriters (but not performers or record labels)... With its own future secure for the next few years, Pandora is now turning its attention to the public performance debate here in the US, saying that the issue is a simple matter of fairness: why should webcasters have to pay more for music than traditional radio does? ... [But] the 'fairness' argument could clearly go either way. Radio might start paying a performance right; on the other hand, perhaps webcasters and satellite radio companies should simply stop paying one, relying on the old argument about promotion."
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Pandora Wants Radio Stations To Pay For Music, Too

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  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @12:44AM (#28686661)
    This was done in Australia, and overnight the amount of Australian music broadcast dropped to close to zero. For a couple of years the government rattled sabres threatening to cancel broadcast licences and then eventually radio stations were charged for all content and not just Australian content. It really didn't matter if there were cases where there was no way the money charged could actually get back to the copyright holders because IT'S A SCAM. The money claimed on behalf of the local copyright holders that theoretically could get back to them does not and is absorbed in "administrative costs" for instance huge payouts to board members of the organisation running the scam. The British version of this is a prime example.
  • Radio Data System (Score:3, Informative)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @12:52AM (#28686729) Homepage Journal

    at least the Pandora guys give you the option to buy what you're listening to on iTunes or Amazon, unlike a radio station.

    If you mean enough artist and title information to write it down and buy it later, FM radio has that too []. If you mean a button to Buy It Now, how would that work in a vehicle? Not everybody has $700 per year to spend on mobile broadband.

  • by Technician ( 215283 ) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @01:03AM (#28686805)

    One of the radio stations I depend on for traffic reports is already fighting this. They run several advertisements predicting the free music you listen to is at risk of being eliminated by congress with new fees on the music they play. Call your congressman right away to stop this legislation that will end free music on radio.

    The NAB, National Association of Broadcasters is leading the charge to oppose the bill.,0,6937549.story/ []

  • by ins0m ( 584887 ) <> on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @01:47AM (#28687019)

    Warning: I work with EDM-variety music producers.

    This is actually fantastic news. When we provide ala carte downloads for our tracks, they usually get shunned and our systems spend hours each month uploading to Rhapsody and the like... for $6 royalty statements.

    The net result?

    An hour block of unadvertised, "live mix" content wherein the latest music gets performed and no one pays a red cent to Harry Fox. It works thusly:

    1. DJ in our roster wishes to promote.
    2. Under US tax code, any music said DJ has paid for is a business expense as an appropriation of requisite tools to perform said job.
    3. DJ plays promotional mix set, commercial free, and it's released to the blogs under fair use.
    5. Profit. DJ sees more bookings as a result for live-performance gigs. The hottest tracks have already been promoted to BBC Radio One and artists see more BDS numbers as a result. People buy more hardcopies as a result of extended exposure.
    6. You missed there wasn't a step 4, and there is no "... Profit?" meme.

    It would take a bit of renegade work, but there isn't any reason why bands can't be promoted in the same way. It's more on the radio DJ's taking the responsibility for ownership instead of the studio for the tracks performed, but that would effectively shut down payola in most cases. With the advent of the Internet, it means these streams can be put out royalty-free and can survive for public enjoyment, while increasing artist exposure and cutting the middleman out. How would the site maintain itself? Through rabid fans. Just look at DogsOnAcid for an example.

  • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) * on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @03:47AM (#28687607)

    Radio? Who needs it!

    Back here on earth, more people are listening to radio [] than ever before. At least in the UK if not on earth, but that article is consistent with others I've seen looking at the US as well.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"