In the last post we discussed Pandora, and their fight for a lower rate of royalty owed for the music they stream. I am still of the opinion that what most probably needs adjusted is Pandora's business plan, not royalty structure; however, after receiving a few messages regarding the matter, we will discuss some of the other forces involved. Pandora is only one of many that have joined forces to form the Internet Radio Fairness Coalition, who's mission it is "to bring the royalty system for Internet radio into the 21st century.”
From what I have seen so far, members of this "coalition" like to throw around trite, lobbyist style language we as industry professionals have seen and heard many times before when a group or company works to see changes in congressional systems or structures that not only have worked for a very long time, but arguably, still work just fine, and would benefit those groups most in the long haul.
So let's take a look at both, the members of this coalition, and what some of them are saying. In an article on Hypebot, Hisham Dahud lists members of the coalition as Pandora, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, the Digital Media Association, AccuRadio, CCIA, Salem Communications, and others. For a complete list, see the article here. Right. Now, let's take a look at what some of them were quoted as saying in the article regarding current royalty structures, as well as why they would like to see these rates lowered.
To start, the coalition states they "will create a sustainable business model for the music industry, giving consumers more choices and more products for listening to the music they live; enable artists to earn more money as Internet radio grows; create a marketplace that will attract entrepreneurs to invest in new, innovative ways to deliver music to the public; and drive higher revenues for record labels."
Okay one thing at a time. First of all labels are already being paid more than, or in one known case an equal share of, what songwriters and publishers receive. Second, consumers and industry professionals are already at times dizzy from the number of choices available for media consumption and distribution; artists, as in the case of the labels, are currently being paid more than songwriters and publishers; and considering the number of apps, platforms, mobile technologies, etc, which are seemingly produced exponentially, I'd say the current state of innovation "for ways to deliver music to the public" is well under way without a congressional bailout for Internet radio in the form of reduction of the royalties paid to the songwriters, publishers, artists, and labels they seem so interested in helping.
Please consider that one way to foster innovation in the actual art that makes their business plans possible is to allow our artists to eat for a change. I know, I know, there I go being reasonable again. Moving on…
"Our piecemeal legislation covering music royalty rates was enacted decades ago before we had the Internet or current technology," says Ed Black of the CIAA. Bob Pittman of Clear Channel had this to say, "We believe market-based solutions are the way to go… This will enable artists to earn more and connect more with their fans, consumers to have more choices, and entrepreneurs to invent and invest in new services.”
Last, from Ed Knife, Digital Media Association, "This is a clear case of an outdated framework that stifles technology and consumer options… This bi-partisan solution will drive more innovation in the legal digital distribution of music.”
Okay, so does anyone else feel they are being fed a sales pitch that utilizes a stale formula of focusing on what THEY will do for YOU while avoiding what THEY really WANT, which is to pay out LESS to US? Anyone else notice the same timeworn PR talking points? I'm not sold, what do you think?