Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pandora Ponders Pulling the Plug...

Anyone else out there love Pandora radio? Uh, yea, a zillion of us.... it's one of my favorite services on the net. Not only as a music fan (you truly can create your own radio station of music YOU like), but as an ARTIST....

Many, MANY people find my music on Pandora radio. It's been a fantastic way to target listeners who are into my style of music. The last time I checked, almost 400 people had created "David Nevue" stations or created stations featuring my music. Pretty cool. I sell quite a few CDs from that exposure...

And yet Pandora, as recently as this week, announced it may soon have to shut down. Why? Because of last year's royalty hike for web radio. Remember that? You don't hear about it much in the news anymore, but it's still a very big deal. You can read more about that at SaveNetRadio.org. Please do.

What it comes down to is that the very folks who claim to want to help and protect artists (SoundExchange in this case) are, by their very own actions, shutting down some of the few avenues independent artists have for getting radio play on the Internet.

SoundExchange means well, I think. I mean, they send me my royalty checks and I'm grateful, very grateful. But on one hand they send me a check, on the other they threaten to take away a great source of income and exposure for me.

For those of you who are interested in following all this, I really recommend you sign up for Kurt Hanson's Radio and Internet Newsletter (RAIN). You can subscribe at http://www.kurthanson.com/ . Kurt's team will give you the latest info every day on what's happening with Internet radio. It's interesting reading.

As for Pandora, Tim Westergren, Pandora's founder, was just quoted as in the Washington Post as saying that Pandora is nearing a "pull-the-plug" decision as to whether to continue. The new "royalty fees" will absorb 70% of their revenue.

Read about it in the article, "Giant of Internet Radio Nears it's 'Last Stand'" at http://tinyurl.com/6877xq

And join with me in doing everything possible to Save Net Radio. Visit SaveNetRadio.org.

Post your thoughts below....

David Nevue
The Music Biz Academy


Anonymous said...

I remember last year when all of this was going on, because Pete Havey over at Mystic Soundscapes was mentioning the same thing.

Now it seems we've finally come full circle on it, and the new royalty scheme is falling into place.

It's a real shame to see things happen like this. So here's a question for you, David.

Do you think this move to bag internet radio has anything to do with terrestrial radio struggling to stay afloat?

Heath Vercher


David Nevue said...

Hey Heath,

Certainly, it *seems* like a play from the corporate music industry to regain control of who is listening to what.

The industry has lost the battle vs. downloads and now DRM, and with Internet radio abounding, now they have little control over what people listen to.

Think about it. Only ten years ago, the only place to really hear new music was on your radio. You were stuck with whatever Clear Channel was playing.

Now you can listen to your choice of music. You're not limited to a playlist of 30 songs anymore.

So you could see why the industry would want to try and regain control over that.

I don't think the issue is really that simple, though. It's easy to look at the situation and think conspiracy-theory type thoughts.

I'm sure the reality is very complicated. Maybe SoundExchange really is trying to protect the artists - at least from their perspective.

But I don't see how the new web royalty rates are fair at all. And while they might be good for major label artists, they are absolutely no good for independent artists who depend on these other broadcast venues to get some exposure for their music.