Quoted: Pandora tries to set the record straight, shift focus to RIAA

“The RIAA has attempted to create a firestorm about an email from me asking artists if they would show their support for Internet radio by signing a letter. … The intent was simply to communicate directly with artists about the future of music, and allow their voices – the thousands upon thousands not represented by the RIAA – to be heard, and to play a part in an issue that so directly affects them.”

Tim Westergren, Pandora founder, in a blog post late Wednesday addressing the recent editorial by rock band Pink Floyd, as the music industry deals with the rise of alternative ways songs are reaching fans. Among other things, Pink Floyd criticized Westergren’s recent emails to artists as an effort to “trick” them into supporting Internet radio at the expense of their royalties. (See our coverage this week of the Pink Floyd op-ed, and Pandora’s original response.) Westergren, in turn, says the Recording Industry Association of America is misleading artists when they say the Oakland-based Internet radio provider is the cause of royalty reductions; he says they were caused by recent negotiations with music labels that forced Pandora to “seek the protection of the rate, also recently negotiated, enjoyed by the online radio streams of broadcast radio companies.” He also takes issue with the “falsehood being disseminated” that Pandora is trying to reduce artist royalties by 85 percent: “That is a lie manufactured by the RIAA and promoted by their hired guns to mislead and agitate the artist community.” Westergren closes his admittedly long blog post on both a conciliatory and defiant note: “Pandora is a company founded by artists to help artists. … We will not be intimidated.”


Photo of Tim Westergren by Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group archives


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