Singing a different tune: Pandora responds to Pink Floyd

Pandora today responded to Pink Floyd’s scathing editorial in USA Today over the weekend, among other things disputing the rock group’s claims that the Internet radio provider supports what amounts to an 85 percent pay cut for musicians.

“That is simply not true. We never, nor would we ever, support such a thing,” according to a statement emailed by a Pandora spokeswoman this morning. Pandora has said it is paying more royalties than terrestrial radio stations and is trying to level the field.

As we wrote yesterday, Pink Floyd accused the Oakland company of trying to pad its bottom line “directly at the expense of artists’ paychecks.” The group had signed an open letter to Pandora late last year, along with more than 100 other musicians, asking why the company was seeking to “gut” royalties. But Pink Floyd felt moved to write the op-ed because it said Pandora is sending misleading emails to artists about supporting Internet radio.

Here’s today’s full statement from Pandora:

We have enormous respect for the members of Pink Floyd, and their amazing artistic contributions. We also respect the genuineness of their opinion. Unfortunately, they have been given badly misleading information – the result of a well-orchestrated campaign by the RIAA and their lobbying arm to mislead and agitate artists. A glaring example is the assertion that Pandora supports an “85% artist pay cut.” That is simply not true. We never, nor would we ever, support such a thing. In fact, Pandora has suggested solutions that would guarantee no reduction in artist payouts while also nurturing the growth of internet radio — a medium that is crucial to thousands of independent musicians who don’t enjoy major label support or FM radio exposure.

This much is true: Pandora is by far the highest paying form of radio in the world and proudly pays both songwriters and performers. For perspective, to reach the exact same audience, Pandora currently pays over 4.5 times more in total royalties than broadcast radio for the same song. In fact, at only 7% of U.S. radio listening, Pandora pays more in performance royalties than any other form of radio.


Photo from Bay Area News Group archives

Levi Sumagaysay Levi Sumagaysay (4265 Posts)

Levi Sumagaysay is editor of the combined SiliconBeat and Good Morning Silicon Valley. She also helps take care of, the Mercury News tech website. Email: