3.1 Million Plays on Pandora Equals a Cheque for $39. What’s the Deal?

Some interesting stuff from Digital Music News. They received a rather lengthy comment from Grammy nominated songwriter, Ellen Shipley. She co-wrote the track Heaven is a Place on Earth. This track has received a massive 3.1 million plays on Pandora – in the last 3 months. That seems like the unbelievable part of the story to me. Also interesting is that the YouTube video only has 2 million views since it was an official Vevo re-release in 2009. The math doesn’t add up somewhere.

As you might know, the amount of money paid by Spotify, Pandora, insert music streaming service here, has been hotly debated and contested from artists. Yet Pandora recently had the audacity to try and get the amount reduced. Bite the hand that feeds much, Pandora?

Anyway, below is the letter from Digital Music News, written by Ellen.

It is interesting and very disturbing that no one is addressing the SONGWRITER’s situation in this Pandora debacle. Pandora wishes to REDUCE the amount of royalties that songwriters have already seen CUT in 2005. Let me give you an example of what Pandora is paying in royalties to SONGWRITERS–not the performers, but the people who write the songs–the foundation of the music world—

PANDORA —-“Heaven Is A Place On Earth” (co-written)
accounting period for 3 months—–3,112,300 streams
My Pandora royalty ……………..$39.61

AND they want us to take an EIGHTY FIVE PERCENT CUT!!!
Does that give you an understanding of the meager, insulting, outrageous amount of money songwriters are being paid from PANDORA and SPOTIFY and YOUTUBE and GOOGLE (I received 15 cents from GOOGLE the other day)?

PANDORA talks a great deal about their need to make a profit and to survive…. but they could care less about the fate of those creators who already are hurting so badly, they are dropping out of music.

According to the FEDERAL CENSUS, we have lost 45% of our professional songwriters in the last ten years or even less (since the advent of streaming and piracy on the Internet depriving us of earning our LEGAL royalties)

So–here is the question:

WHY is it alright for PANDORA to want to exist and grow and earn profits while it is NOT alright for the SONGWRITERS to SURVIVE, be respected, earn a fair royalty?

PANDORA’s model is failing– because as Steve Jobs recognized much earlier on when he rejected the idea of Streaming Digital radio–they don’t have a business plan that gives them a way (such as ad revenue) to earn a profit OTHER THAN NOT PAYING FOR MUSIC!

Listen Up Everyone Please:
Without the Songwriters who create music for artists who do NOT write their own songs, there will be little if any music when you go to PANDORA OR SPOTIFY OR YOUTUBE….
I am grateful for my success as a Grammy-nominated, hit songwriter….I am grateful that my songs have reached millions of people and meant something to them in their lives….

But I will NOT perpetrate the myth that somehow Songwriters should give their music away for free or let it be stolen by Corporations interested in their own profits by any means possible.

THis is a human rights issue—We are discriminated against and unprotected by the US governments obligation to make sure our FIFTH AMMENDMENT RIGHTS in the BILL OF RIGHTS (the “right to the pursuit of happiness” which includes the right to work at the JOB OF OUR CHOICE and earn an income from that job without–my words- interference from any person, place, corporation, streaming sites that are robbing us of our COnstitutional rights.

Let the voice of the Songwriters Be Heard! Send a petition tous–allow us to be represented at all these meetings between the music world and those who would seek to destroy what we have worked so long and hard to achieve in our lives.

Ellen Shipley

People might argue that the song is ancient, but that doesn’t change the fact that a new song with the same plays would have the same problem. Is music streaming going to kill the music industry rather than save it?

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