Monday, August 18, 2008

Washington Post reports that Pandora internet radio may close its doors, due to excessive royalties

The Washington Post reports that Pandora internet radio may have to shut its doors, due to the excessive royalties it is required to pay:

Giant of Internet Radio Nears Its 'Last Stand'
Pandora, Other Webcasters Struggle Under High Song Fees

By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 16, 2008; Page D01

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Pandora is one of the nation's most popular Web radio services, with about 1 million listeners daily. Its Music Genome Project allows customers to create stations tailored to their own tastes. It is one of the 10 most popular applications for Apple's iPhone and attracts 40,000 new customers a day.

Yet the burgeoning company may be on the verge of collapse, according to its founder, and so may be others like it.

"We're approaching a pull-the-plug kind of decision," said Tim Westergren, who founded Pandora. "This is like a last stand for webcasting."
Complete article

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Keywords: digital copyright law online internet law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs intellectual property portable music player

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very sad. It looks as if the RIAA will have ultimately punished another group of incredibly intelligent, creative, and hard-working innovators in the technology world.

I've never experienced anything like Pandora, the Music Genome Project was truly awesome, and the creators should be thanked.

Matthew said...

It's ironic, intellectual property rights were created to foster innovation, not drive innovators out of business.

Timothy Durnan said...

SoundExchange, the organization that represents performers and record companies, said it supports the higher royalties for Internet radio because musicians deserve a bigger cut of Internet radio profits.

Wait, what? Why does the medium in which the music is listened affect how much the royalties should be?

Thanks,
-Tim

Matt Fitzpatrick said...

The soul of Pandora is not the size of its playlist. It's the accuracy of its music genome sorting. So, even if Pandora can't play exactly the same songs that users input as their favorites, or even has to restrict their playlist to royalty free music -- and there's plenty out there -- Pandora will still be Pandora.

There's an even bigger irony. Pandora was free marketing for retired and other obscure acts, long after their labels have stopped promoting them. Through Pandora, I discovered New Wave music, which otherwise I'd be too young to remember, and even bought a few CDs from acts I'd never heard of before.

After checking RIAA Radar, of course.

Ed said...

The RIAA seems to just be shooting itself in the foot over all it's greed. I refuse to buy music I haven't heard first unless I KNOW the band really well. I've used Pandora to discover and BUY music I haven't heard before. The RIAA knows not what it does and I honestly can't wait to see the day it just goes down in flames.

ScrewMaster said...

The RIAA knows not what it does and I honestly can't wait to see the day it just goes down in flames.

The RIAA couldn't care less what it does, because what it's doing is at the behest of the big copyright holders. The RIAA is just being paid to do a job, no more and no less. If they were decent people they would have refused the job, but they're not.

Consequently, it probably won't go down in flames, but at some point the media outfits are going to have to clip the RIAA's wings.

The problem, I think, is that people hear about these lawsuits and they think (if they think about them at all) that it's some nebulous outfit called "the RIAA" that's doing it. Some few seem to believe that the "RIAA" is an arm of the government! Disturbing, that.

Most people I talk to about this don't seem to realize, or be willing to accept, that it's their favorite record labels that are behind all this. Further, that every CD they buy from those people just funds the craziness.

ScrewMaster said...

SoundExchange, the organization that represents performers and record companies, said it supports the higher royalties for Internet radio because musicians deserve a bigger cut of Internet radio profits.

Says who? Has anyone actually asked said musicians if they support the increase? I'm sure that more than a few musicians will be thoroughly torqued off when their favorite Internet radio stations go dark.

Frankly, if I were a professional musician, I'd be up in arms about such socially and technologically destructive actions being taken in my name.