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Pandora Not on Board With Nadler Performance Royalty Draft

Westergren wants parity among digital audio services

Pandora likes one version of a possible performance royalty bill, the one that calls for parity among digital radio audio services as far as streaming royalties.

That’s the gist of the measure introduced by Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

However Pandora co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren made it clear this week he’s not a fan of the newest measure on the issue, a draft being circulated by New York Rep. Jerry Nadler. That measure attempts to include broadcast radio streams in the performance royalty mix as well.

We’ve reported that Westergren has been lobbying for the Chaffetz measure, which would lower the royalties paid by Internet audio streams to bring them more in line with what grandfathered services like satellite radio and cable audio services carried on cable systems pay.

Pandora has said some 50% of its revenues go to music royalties and it’s trying to lower that rate. Westergren said in a statement for The Hill the Nadler draft “would only perpetuate this hypocrisy and worsen an already flawed legislative mistake that is discriminating against new technology and hampering innovation.”

Responding, Nadler said ‘the solution is not to get to parity at the expense of artists,” which is how he characterized the Nadler bill, according to the account.

Westergren has been lobbying Capitol Hill, laying the groundwork for new rates when performance royalty negotiations begin in 2014.