Artists Speak Out Against Internet Radio Fairness Act
November 15, 2012

Over 100 musicians have signed an open letter from the MusicFirst Coalition, protesting the proposed Internet Radio Fairness Act, which would lower royalty payments for many webcasters. Pandora has led the charge in favor of the legislation, and the popular service is specifically singled out in the open letter.

Signed by Katy Perry, RihannaBritney Spears, Cee Lo Green, Sheryl Crow, Billy Joel, Maroon 5, Pink Floyd, Jason Mraz, Rush and many, many more, the letter is published in this week's edition of Billboard magazine.

The letter notes that the artists "are big fans of Pandora. That’s why we helped give the company a discount on rates for the past decade. Pandora is now enjoying phenomenal success as a Wall Street company. Skyrocketing growth in revenues and users. At the same time, the music community is just now beginning to gain a footing in this new digital world."

It continues, "Pandora’s principal asset is the music. Why is the company asking Congress once again to step in and gut the royalties that thousands of musicians rely upon? That’s not fair and that’s not how partners work together. Congress has many pressing issues to consider, but this is not one of them. Let's work this out as partners and continue to bring fans the great musical experience they rightly expect." 

The Internet Radio Fairness Coalition (IFRC) has issued a statement in response to the open letter, saying, "The Internet Radio Fairness Coalition believes that we and the artists all want the same thing — a growing Internet radio industry that helps artists. The Internet Radio Fairness Act will help accomplish that goal. We respect the artists’ concerns and are willing to work with them through the legislative process," the statement continued, "to create a healthy, sustainable, growing Internet radio business that benefits them as well as labels, distributors and consumers."

According to the Los Angeles Times, an IFRC spokeswoman added, "The Internet Radio Fairness Act does not address any exact royalty rates at all. Rather, the bill would allow the Copyright Royalty Board to evaluate internet radio royalty rates under the widely used 801(b) standard instead of the current, misleadingly-named 'willing buyer, willing seller' rate evaluation standard. The IRFA bill does not request or make a recommendation as to what a future rate for internet radio would be."

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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