When you’re listening to a popular radio station, you are bound to hear many of the same artists continuously—over and over again. It’s like a playlist on repeat. Clearly, these mainstream artists are making quite a bit from these big commercial radio stations, right? Well, they are earning more than your smaller unknown artists who aren’t heard on broadcast radio, but there are other stations who are also giving these big performers another big boost, much bigger than broadcast radio. Internet radio sites like Pandora are currently paying half of all their revenue towards performance fees while stations such as SiriusXM pay only 7.5%.
Pandora being one of the leaders of Internet radio, is forced to pay these high amounts in artist royalties by the RIAA. Pandora is proud to support artists, and wants to continue to do so, however they believe that it should by no means be in this discriminatory fashion. A new act has been introduced by Congress called the Internet Radio Fairness Act, which addresses “this discrimination by extending to internet radio the same standard used to determine virtually all copyright rate-setting processes, including satellite and cable radio, allowing us to compete on a level playing field” (Pandora Radio Blog).
On Pandora’s Radio Blog, Pandora is not only preaching for this act, but also for an understanding of why Internet radio is important and should be considered as an extreme asset for artists outside of the broadcast radio bubble. Pandora currently provides a steady income for these artists who aren’t in the mainstream circle. Pandora explains that “This revenue stream is meaningful,” “We’re talking here about the very real possibility of creating, for the first time ever, an actual musicians middle class” (Pandora Radio Blog).
Internet radio therefore, has a strong and important presence in the music world. It has the potential to bring life changing opportunities for artists. All this revenue that is supporting these artists however, are coming from a single company and Pandora wants to change that.