The band Cracker received $16.89 after receiving 1,159,000 plays of the song Low last quarter, according to frontman David Lowery. Lowery added that Pandora is pushing to have Congress change the way that they pay royalties so that they can pay less to songwriters too.
“For you civilians webcasting rates are ‘compulsory’ rates. They are set by the government (crazy, right?). Further since they are compulsory royalties, artists can not ‘opt out’ of a service like Pandora even if they think Pandora doesn?t pay them enough. The majority of songwriters have their rates set by the government, too, in the form of the ASCAP and BMI rate courts?a single judge gets to decide the fate of songwriters (technically not a ‘compulsory’ but may as well be). This is already a government mandated subsidy from songwriters and artists to Silicon Valley. Pandora wants to make it even worse. (Yet another reason the government needs to get out of the business of setting webcasting rates and let the market sort it out.),” wrote Lowery on his website.
Lowery said that Pandora should change around their business model. He pointed out that Pandora plays one minute of commercials per hour of their free service. He also mentioned that the company could double their revenue if they “play two minutes of commercials.”
Below is a receipt that Lowery posted with his Pandora earnings (click the image to enlarge):
Lowery asked other songwriters to post their receipts also to show how “terrible webcasting rates are for songwriters.” For the same number of plays, Sirius XM played Cracker $181 and terrestrial (FM/AM) radio in the U.S. paid Cracker $1,522.