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Music Artists Not Happy With Pandora

MusicFirst said to be planning PR campaign against the Internet audio service over its performance royalty position

Pandora has raised the ire of some musicians in the performance royalty debate.

The company favors parity among digital Internet audio services, and has been supporting one of two new measures being floated on Capitol Hill.

The MusicFirst Coalition, which represents hundreds of recording artists, is expected to launch a public relations campaign against Pandora’s effort behind a measure being drafted by Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, reports the New York Post. The bill would lower Pandora’s rate to the same level as the performance royalty paid by satellite radio and audio services carried over cable systems.

Pandora’s Tim Westergren has said the current rate stifles innovation because newer Web audio services are charged more than older services under the current system. Half of Pandora’s revenues are used to pay performance royalties.

MusicFirst favors a competing draft bill by New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, which would attempt to bring broadcast streams under the same performance royalty as digital audio services on top of what radio already pays to groups like ASCAP and BMI. Such a measure, opposed by NAB, has twice failed to pass Congress.