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ASCAP Strikes Back

Songwriter performing rights group says Pandora is trying to underpay writers, performers

ASCAP President Paul Williams says Pandora is “trying every trick in the book” to underpay songwriters and performers.

He’s referring to Pandora’s move to purchase an FM in South Dakota in order to qualify for the same, lower, music royalties that terrestrial radio broadcasters pay on their streams.

Pandora has said its rate, set before that of satellite radio and terrestrial radio, is so high it’s cutting into its ability to make a profit. The streaming music service has been lobbying for a lower rate.

Williams says in a statement that Internet and traditional AM/FM radio services are very different businesses with different formats, and they use music in different ways. “Songwriters and composers are struggling in the digital economy to be paid fairly for their creative work.”

Pandora and ASCAP are also involved in a court case over the music royalties that the Internet streaming music service pays.