As it's done so well in the past, leading webcaster Pandora is showing an expert's edge in gathering support among its listeners and their representatives in Congress for the newly-introduced Internet Radio Fairness Act. Now, in his blog, Pandora founder Tim Westergren makes the case that a healthy, thriving Pandora is important for the future viability of artists.
Westergren reveals that his service in 2012 will pay $100,228, $138,567 and $114,192, respectively, in royalties for the use of music by Donnie McClurkin, French Montana, and Grupo Bryndis.
"They are artists whose sales ranks on Amazon are 4,752, 17,000 and 183,187, respectively," Westergren wrote. "These are all working artists who live well outside the mainstream - no steady rotation on broadcast radio, no high profile opening slots on major tours, no front page placement in online retail. What they also have in common is a steady income from Pandora."
He also reveals that his service will pay nearly $3 million each in royalties to play the music of performers Drake and Lil Wayne; for Coldplay, Adele, Wiz Khalifa, and Jason Aldean, it's more than a million dollars each.
"For over two thousand artists Pandora will pay over $10,000 dollars each over the next 12 months... and for more than 800 we'll pay over $50,000, more than the income of the average American household."
Further, he cites research from the NPD Group that concludes that Internet radio has a positive effect on both music sales and curtailing music piracy.
While record label-, artist-, and performer-lobby groups and unions like musicFIRST, AFTRA, and the AFM have publicly spoken against the IRFA, it's clear Westergren is looking to appeal to the actual artist members to support royalty reform.
"Making performance fees fair for Internet radio will drive massive investment in the space, accelerating the growth of the overall sector, and just as importantly accelerating the development of new technology that leverages the incredible power of the Internet to build and activate new audiences. That's where the great opportunity lies in the long run. The short-term reduction in revenue would be rapidly swamped by the overall growth of the sector. Imagine the impact on artists if this industry grew to become 25% or even 50% of radio listening," he concludes. "Artists, this is your future. Own it."