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Pandora and Music Licensing Fees

Posted Jul 2, 2013 9:59:00 PM

Paul Simon is one. Macklemore is one. Robin Thicke is one. So is Scott Thomas, so is Drew Gasparini, and so is Wouter De Backer.

What are they?

They are Songwriters. Some of the names are more recognizable than others, and some seem to be more famous for performing, but they are in fact songwriters. You see, when a songwriter puts pen to paper and comes up with a "Bridge over Troubled Water" or a "Criminal" they often sign with a company like BMI or ASCAP. What these companies do is make sure the Songwriter, Publisher, or Composer gets royalties for usage of their song(s).

You have heard Bruno Mars on the Radio, that Radio Station pays Licensing fees to play those songs. You have heard .Fun on the Retail Radio airwaves. We pay the licensing to play that song, and many others. Those licensing fees that we pay, pay everyone from Paul McCartney to Joe Garage Band who is about to make it big in 6 months. So when Pandora says they are paying to much in License Fees, what they are saying is that, they want to use Joe Garage Bands Song, but they don't want to pay them anything to use it.

Not everyone is a Paul Simon, some are like Drew Gasparini, who has had one of his songs featured on NBC's "Smash". So when Pandora tries to pay less, who is that hurting more? Paul Simon or Drew? I have met a lot of songwriters in my days in commercial radio and at Retail Radio. Some are the biggest names in music, and some cracked the Billboard Top 100, and are now doing website design in Seattle. What publishing companies like BMI, ASCAP, SOCAN, SESAC do is protect the artists. We sometimes forget that these songwriters are in fact artists, and the best way to make sure there is art, is to protect the artists.

So, next month when you go to that Summer Country Festival, or the Mystic Theater to see Jackie Greene remember that those troubadours poured out their heart and souls and deserve to be protected from greedy corporations.

To read BMI's response to Pandora's actions, follow the link to their Press Release. http://www.bmi.com/press/entry/561960