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back to article Pink Floyd blasts Pandora for 'tricking' artists with petition

Three members of iconic British psychedelic rockers Pink Floyd have penned an editorial condemning the practices of streaming music service Pandora, which they say has been trying to trick recording artists into cutting their own pay. The editorial, which appeared in USA Today on Sunday, called out Pandora and its CEO Tim …

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"You don't hear grocery stores complain they have to pay for the food they sell. "

Of course not. They just force the price down on the quiet.

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Anonymous Coward

Wish they were here ..

Yeah they could've picked a better example. Talk to the growers and you'll hear consistent stories about how supermarkets are forever putting downward pressure on prices.

To be fair, I doubt any of these gents has shopped in a major grocery chain for a while ..

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Holmes

"Of course not. They just force the price down on the quiet."

Naturally... but do they try to trick farmers into signing petitions to support them in that? Thought not. Seems like a perfectly reasonable analogy to me.

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Re: Wish they were here ..

@Nicho "Yeah they could've picked a better example. Talk to the growers and you'll hear consistent stories about how supermarkets are forever putting downward pressure on prices."

But at least the price arrived at is as a result of the grower and the grocer negotiating a price at which they are prepared to exchange the goods. The supermarkets aren't going off trying to get the law changed to force the price down, which is what is happening here.

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"You don't hear grocery stores complain they have to pay for the food they sell. "

But you would if some group representing food producers could legally force a major supermarket, say Ocado, to pay a premium for all branded food lines they sell because they are wholly on-line, but Tesco's et al because they run a network of supermarkets and/or convenience stores don't. This is effectively what is being done to Pandora by ASCAP.

Yes we need to view Pandora in the same context as other music broadcasters to see that they do have a case - namely they are being discriminated against, given that ASCAP are happy about the much lower royalty rates that they have been receiving todate from other organisations...

Whether real musicians rather than the music industry are getting a fair cut of the royalties is another question. Remember in today's world music, like films and novels are products.

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Re: Wish they were here ..

"But at least the price arrived at is as a result of the grower and the grocer negotiating a price at which they are prepared to exchange the goods."

Flip side.....

The supermarkets are free to choose where they buy the products from at an agreed rate between both individual parties, either party can choose a different supplier / retailer.

Pandora have to deal with little more than a bunch of cartels, where a price is fixed, regardless of an artsits "value".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wish they were here ..

@teacake - or the reverse, like PDO's ?

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Stop

Re: "we need to view Pandora in the same context as other music broadcasters"

No, we don't. Unless you can point me at a radio station with a transmitter powerful enough to get global coverage, radio stations and internet music services are not comparable. They have very different (potential) sizes of audience and a completely different model of content delivery.

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Re: "we need to view Pandora in the same context as other music broadcasters" @Sparkypatrick

I think you will find that in the royalty rates agreed with individual radio stations there is a consideration for potential and actual audience size. Also some terrestrial radio stations also 'broadcast' via the internet without incurring the same royalty rates as Pandora...

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Go

Money, it's a hit...

Don't give me that do goody good bullshit.

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Go

But if you ask for a rise, it's no surprise...

... they're giving none away.

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Unhappy

Wish I was still getting paid for work that I did umpteen years ago.

Pink Floyd: welcome to the real world where we have to work for a living.

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Pink Floyd didn't get paid for writing their songs and composing their music. They only got paid when they produced something so good that people kept on wanting to buy it and listen to it. What was it that you did umpteen years ago that was so good that it still has value to people and why didn't you have the foresight to keep the IP to it?

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An unfair system

AFAIK, patents last for 20 years. Music copyrights last for 70 years from death of author. Where's the fairness?

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Right on brother. Pink Floyd should have known back in the sixties, seventies and eighties that internet radio companies would want to broadcast their music cheaply. F***wits!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: An unfair system

If I buy a bunch of stocks and shares and hand them on to my next of kin they are going to keep earning dividends as long as the holder owns them - the shares don't expire after 70 years. I invested many years ago in writing and recording music that was so good that 70 years after I'm dead it's still popular. Why should earnings from music be any different to stocks and shares?

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Re: An unfair system

"AFAIK, patents last for 20 years. Music copyrights last for 70 years from death of author. Where's the fairness?"

You are not comparing like with like.

A patent is granted to an inventor to give them exclusive rights in exchange for making the details of the invention public for the benefit of all. This legal protection is granted in recognition of the fact that someone may lose out on the benefits of an invention because the idea could be taken up by other people who are better able to market their product. Famously, the Rubik's Cube was only patented in Hungary and so Professor Rubik recieved very little royalty for his invention. A limit of 20 years is granted to give a reasonably time for the inventor to benefit from it but after this the idea is available to all.

Copyright, on the other hand, is a protection against unauthorised pubishing of someone's work and this varies from one country to another as well as for the type of material. The date of death + 70 years you quote is (as I understand it) for written work in the UK, so it would apply to the actual music of Pink Floyd separate from any recording. Copyright for recorded material is normally from the date of creation, and is 50 years in the UK and 70 years in the US. This is what Cliff Richard was trying to get changed a few years ago because his earlist songs are now becoming public domain.

From what I understand, Pandora are trying to circumvent this copyright protection to avoid paying the royalties to the artists that they are legally entitled to.

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Mushroom

Re: An unfair system

"This is what Cliff Richard was trying to get changed a few years ago because his earlist songs are now becoming public domain."

Trying? They damn well succeeded in getting it changed:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/media/8758116/Cliff-Richard-wins-fight-to-have-music-copyright-extended.html

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Re: An unfair system @Joseph Haig

"From what I understand, Pandora are trying to circumvent this copyright protection to avoid paying the royalties to the artists that they are legally entitled to."

Your understanding is fatally flawed.

I suggest reading "Pandora Isn't the Enemy, the Music Industry Is" Parts 1 and 2 over on TheStreet, it will give you a better insight into what this is all about.

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Re: An unfair system

You are right, there should be a middle ground. 70 years past the death is a tad long, but remember that in most arts, the value of the artists work goes up immensely after the artist dies. Not so in Music, but certainly in painting , jewelry, pottery etc. Maybe reduce Music to 50 years, and line item certain Patents. Drugs Patents shouldn't start until after FDA approval, but there should be a FRAND situation so that people needing a medication don't get impoverished. Patents under a FRAND should last far more than 20 years.

The subject is payment for musicians and the writers though. I don't mind rewarding these artists and am disturbed that Pandora is trying to legislate rates. Of course, in the US, no such legislation would pass constitutionality except changes in copyright laws across-the-board. I do not believe that Pandora would charge any less to customers if they got to pay artists less, certainly not as much as the reduction unless that was in the law. The bottom line, buyers will always try to pay the lowest price, and sellers will charge all that the market will bear. That is the definition of Capitalism. No legislatures should ever get involved unless there is a clear safety or public interest (such as Medicine). I can choose what I want to buy, I cannot chooser what I NEED to buy.

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Re: An unfair system @Joseph Haig

And TheStreet has no agenda of it's own? It is not exactly a disinterested 3rd party

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FAIL

> They only got paid when they produced something so good that people kept on wanting to buy it and listen to it.

There was me thinking that Pink Floyd got paid when they performed...which is what musicians do for a living.

Performing once, then sitting on your arse for the rest of eternity is not my idea of an equitable situation.

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Paris Hilton

And did we tell you the name of the game boy?

Nice to see the spirit of the recoding industry is alive and well.

Paris. It is a natural.

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Flame

Let's see....

I have prchased Dark Side Of The Moon no less than 10 times, and many of those copies were purchased brand new. Roger would be quite displeased to hear that nowadays I prefer Eclipsed over DSOTM, and Eclipsed was never ever released as an official recording. Best version of it was the Empire Pool recording, iirc. If the boys need cash, perhapse they should look at arranging somthing with the bootleg traders. It'd b a damn sight more interesting than just another reissue of the same stuff again and again.

Also, not all internet radio pays royalties. How many Icecast "djs" would be willing to pay royalties on everything they broadcast? probably not too many.

wish I could choose more than one icon, sinct this post is sure to get a bunch of thumbs-down and flames in response.

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Happy

Re: Let's see....

You've purchased the same thing 10 times? Sucker....

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Re: Let's see....

You've got me beat. I've bought Dark Side four times -- two vinyl copies (one to replace the copy I wore out in high school and college), a copy of the Mobile Fidelity Lab's half-speed remastered LP, and again on CD.

Mind you, I love that album to death, but lately I've been listening a lot to the famous bootleg soundboard footage of Floyd's performance of Dark Side at Wembley in November 1974.

I'm in total agreement with you on your point about a deal with the bootleg traders, or something like it. Perhaps Floyd could consider doing what the Grateful Dead started doing in the late '80s/early '90s, which was to dig back into their own archives and release entire shows on CD (and later as downloads). The "From The Vault" and "Road Trips" series of live releases are some of the Dead's biggest sellers even today.

I'd gladly pay real money for a nice, clean, remastered copy of that Wembley Dark Side show, or of their complete performance of Wish You Were Here from Los Angeles in April 1975, or their complete Animals performance in Oakland in May 1977. There are some really fine bootlegs of those shows which have circulated in the bootleg collectors' underground for years -- I own copies of them -- but a digitally restored copy remixed by the Floyd themselves from their own soundboard master footage? Shit, yeah, I'd totally pay the Floyd for copies of that stuff.

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Would the Floyd gentlemen then also consider...

I *OWN* two vinyl copies of Dark Side, one standard CD and one remasterd CD. Now, if I want to put it on my iPod, they gather ripping one of the CD's is illegal and I must buy it again on iTunes.

I work for a living as well, gentlemen.

Since I've paid for the same thing four times already, maybe they could give Pandora a gift voucher to play the album 3 times for free ?

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pSy

Re: Would the Floyd gentlemen then also consider...

Maybe next time go to the music store without Nick Mason pointing a gun at your head?

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Headmaster

Re: Would the Floyd gentlemen then also consider...

It's not illegal to rip your own CDs. It's illegal to distribute what you have ripped. When they write 'not for re-sale' or 'not transferable' that's not the law, that's an agreement they are asking you to follow.

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Headmaster

Re: Would the Floyd gentlemen then also consider...

You should use the Pedant icon wisely, else you risk being double pedanted!

It is currently illegal in the UK to "rip" your own CDs to use on a different device. It is called format shifting and is not allowed by law. The Hargreaves Review made recommendations to modernise copyright law or to clarify some areas of it based upon contemporary usage. A number of the recommendations have been given approval by the Government, including format shifting of non-DRMed media.

These, however, have not been enacted as a statutory instrument yet. Draft legislation is available for review from the IPO but it will be a while before it is finalised.

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Re: Would the Floyd gentlemen then also consider...

Oh, iTunes? That's where people go to store the stuff they put on their iPod and iPhone because they cannot transfer it via a link with their computer, isn't it? When I found out about that policy I made my mind up to never buy anything Apple... ...though the current PC situation is a tad worrying. I've got a 30 Gb Cowon media player and connect to my system via USB, ditto the Dell phone and the Huawei phone (a cheeky little number!).

I'll never give copies of the stuff that I bought to other people, and I'll never touch Apple.

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Re: Would the Floyd gentlemen then also consider...

There is or used to be an option to apply for a licence to do this kind of thing. It predates the digital era.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Would the Floyd gentlemen then also consider...

"It is currently illegal in the UK to "rip" your own CDs to use on a different device."

Have you seen an advert for the Brennan JB7 lately? One of several similar commercially available products sold in the UK, It's a box that rips your CDs onto a hard drive for later playback, and more. Also includes an amplifier. Just add speakers, and your CD collection.

I can't find an advert right now but there's some fairly explicit text in the adverts that says "it's OK, you can do this legally". Can't quickly find it on their wesbite either.

Does he say whether it's OK to do this with a borrowed CD?

Does he say whether it's OK to rip a CD and sell the original?

The present music industry model is seriously broken. And not just the Simon Cowell end.

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Alien

Re: Would the Floyd gentlemen then also consider...

It's actually just shows how disjointed copyright law is in this country. While it's illegal to format shift your music collection it's not illegal to sell the hardware to do it. And it's one of the few laws that has been recognised as completely unenforceable as it would mean prosecuting pretty much anyone who has ever owned vinyl, cassette, CD or an MP3 player. It's an archaic law that dates back to the invention of tapes and back then the music industry tried very hard to make cassette players illegal if they had the ability to record.

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Megaphone

@Anon 11.55: LMGTFY

In 2006 the British Phonograhic Institute or BPI said to a parliamentary select committee that they wanted to “make it unequivocally clear to the consumer that if they copy their CDs for their own private use in order to move the music from format to format we will not pursue them”

http://www.brennan.co.uk/itemcontent.php/content/Copyright2

but no reference to original source

however

The latest victim of the ASA’s wrath is 3GA Ltd, the company that makes the Brennan JB7 – “a CD player with a hard disk that stores up to 5,000 CDs”. [...] somebody with nothing better to do with their life (or, more likely, one of Brennan’s competitors) complained that the “ad incited consumers to break the law, because it was illegal to copy music without permission from the copyright owner”.

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/blogs/2011/03/30/asa-cd-burner-%E2%80%9Cincites%E2%80%9D-law-breaking/

Moreover

Music industry blasts Government attempts to modernise copyright laws

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/digital-media/9150687/Music-industry-blasts-Government-attempts-to-modernise-copyright-laws.html

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Re: Would the Floyd gentlemen then also consider...

If you're using the music for work (i.e. as a DJ) then you can happily format shift in the uk with a Produb license.

http://www.prsformusic.com/users/recordedmedia/ProDub/Pages/ProDubLicence.aspx

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Holmes

Re: Would the Floyd gentlemen then also consider...

"Have you seen an advert for the Brennan JB7 lately?..."

Brennan has always stated that it is illegal, they even state this on the front page of their website. Are you going to get prosecuted as a user? No. Is it likely to effect you for format shifting your own material? No.

I was just stating a fact, easy to verify, that as a default format shifting is currently illegal. If anyone says they won't prosecute, then that is fine, still doesn't change the legality of it unless they are actually giving you permission to the copyright *that they own* or are allowed to assign.

Yes it's stupid, and no you as a normal user will not fall foul of it and get prosecuted and that is why the law is changing, however at this moment in time it is illegal without a separate licence or legal permission.

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Re: Would the Floyd gentlemen then also consider... Re: Brennan

Yes it is currently illegal (under UK law) to copy music or format shift it without the permission of the copyright owner, basically the UK doesn't have a ‘fair use’ provision written into it's copyright law that allows the copying of copyrighted material for personal use.

Brennan received a slap over the knuckles a few years back from the ASA because it deemed the Brennan advert "misleadingly implied it was acceptable to copy CDs, vinyl and cassettes without the permission of the copyright owner", even though the official line from the music industry, (that Brennan cited) was that personal format shifting from media you owned was OK and that there has never been a court case over it.

But Parliament has announced that it has accepted the Hargreaves recommendation and will in due course be changing the law to permit the transfer of content from CDs or DVDs to MP3 files and computers for personal use...

As for the various scenario's listed by AC I suggest provided the media from which you ripped a copy is in your possession then these copies will be regarded as being for personal use.

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Thumb Up

Hey there Pink Floyd - ha ha, charade you are!

The Floyd are well aware of their conflicted status in this argument. Gleefully in fact - it's the same old 'anti-business/pro-business' rhetoric they were famous for first time around. In fact the more complex and ironic the interplay between their status as liberal musicians living the good life in a huge corporate machine fighting other corporate machines, the more they like it.

Sheep, Dogs or Pigs? Just keep buying the records ...

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Megaphone

Have to agree with them

Music is being cheapened and turned into a commodity. So what if the manufacturer of the product wants to protect their right to make money from it? Yes its nice to get something a bit cheaper but frankly if your going to be an arsehole over cost then you deserve the flack that comes with it.

To Peter R. 1 - you have a choice as a consumer to buy or not to buy multiple copies of DSOTM. Don't go bitching just because another format has popped up. you could always go on ebay for a portable CD player...

Pink Floyd produced a body of work that millions have enjoyed for decades and most likely for decades to come. They deserve to reap the benefits to their fullest extent.

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Re: Have to agree with them

I have not problems with the musicians who create music getting paid their 7p or whatever it is you get for writing and performing a song. I have no desire to pay ten times that for the same song and support the collection of grossly inefficient arseholes who get in the way between me and the music. If your milk was £4 a pint and your bread £7 a loaf you'd have a fit and you cant download that down the internet connection you are paying for.

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Re: Have to agree with them

Then don't pay 10 times - nobody is FORCING you to keep buying the same album on different formats - you are choosing to do that because it is convenient for you.

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Anonymous Coward

Music was the Greatest Bubble ever...

I'm a musician who moonlights as a tech to pay the bills. I have these kinds of debates with my friends all the time. Many of them are musicians. There's a well known Irish roots musician called Damien Dempsey. He often calls for the head of Louis Walsh. You can add the likes of Simon Cowell to that call now. We think there is still plenty of money in music, its just not being spread around. Their model only enriches the few to astronomic proportions, Some things we lament.......

We feel music is dying, but not because of illegal downloading. Its dying because the same 100 artists dominate with only their songs on the radio selector play-lists, commercials, TV progs and documentary sound-bites. Plus, there's aren't any classic albums being made anymore. So there's little to get excited about. Sound Bite Ring-Tones have replaced classic melodies and sampling has replaced crafted song-writing..... We'd like people to come out of their comas and stop buying into Justin Beiber, 1D etc and show some taste. But that won't happen. YouTube's Gangham Style...is proof of that! Taste is dead.

Still we say go and support your local musicians. Go to the local bars and restaurants where they play and buy CD's directly from them. We can only ever make cents from Pandora, the deck is stacked against us.... Whereas supporting us at local venues directly helps us.

This ancient model of local versus global support is how music was for centuries before Radio, TV, Globalisation or the Internet. But our current view of reality of music artists is skewed by the fact we grew up in an era of the mega-acts. They mesmerized us from the beginning by having the very best song-writing, the very best musicianship, and the very best all round performances. Ever since, we've all been asking when's the next Beatles or U2 going to arrive, as if its a given... But the truth is, that era is probably over.... Perhaps it was just an anomaly to begin with when you glance back at human history....

There's a certain apathy where people don't want to bother and go and listen to good live music anymore. So most restaurants and clubs get away with just playing crud in the background. When the very best funk, blues, soul, hip-hop, classical or pop or whatever might be on your doorstop. So try and seek out local musicians and bands you can get behind and support them long-term.... Keep music breathing....

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Re: Music was the Greatest Bubble ever...

Exactly. It was mass media which created the super stars. Basically mass-production of a quality product brings in huge profits for those near the top of the pyramid and a good living for those flogging the disks in the shops. Anyone who is not a superstar gets almost nothing.

I believe there is a cultural shift but it's a constant battle. The mass producers will always be able to produce high quality on a mass scale and run the small producers out of town. The small producers keep innovating faster than the big boys can keep up.

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Pint

Re: Music was the Greatest Bubble ever...

While I agree with the overall sentiment, I can't agree totally with the notion that this was a unique bubble, the likes of never seen before or to be seen again.

Mozart was one of the megastars. Contrary to popular belief, he did not die a pauper. This is a misconception that sprang up from what seems like his rather small and insignificant grave. In Venice though, having a grave AT ALL is a sign of being in the upper echilon. It's just that the tourists look upon his tombstone, and then the the much grander vaults further up, which were royal family members only, and assume he passed away, forgotten, poor and unloved. Of course, the truth is he was a rich, pampered rock star living the finiest life that 18th century Venice could offer. Of course, 18th century Venice offered disease and an early death more readily....

For every Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, there are a thousand names of budding composers which have been long lost in the sands of time, and for every one of those anonymous composers, there are another thousand orchestra players, who would have died destitute, and spent more time begging than playing.

As for the loss of taste, I feel that's probibly another cyclic pattern. I mean, how else can you explain George Formby!?!? And he's the famous one, which means by definition, he must have stood head and shoulders above the rest! Just this thought makes me weep for humanity! If George Formby was the pinnicle of talent during that era, then his supporting act would have made gangnam style look like Beethovens 5Th!

I don't believe these fashions come back in exactly the same form, just like clothing fashions repeat, but with minor differences. The height of the money tower pyramid created by the birth of the record industry is probably one of those moments in history that will stand out as unique, but I very much doubt we've seen the last of the megastars

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Happy

Re: Music was the Greatest Bubble ever...

You have reasonable and well thought-out opinions, however they are nullified by your insistence that the music you don't like is 'bad' music. Music is all just sound and "taste" is a matter of opinion.

Popular music has always been about tunes of the lowest common denominator. That's what makes it most popular. The most popular music inevitably gets the most exposure. It has always been so, even before the days of radio.

Don't like the most popular music? Well you'll find that many people don't, but they all occupy their own minority niches. You'll find that your, or any minority, choice of music is never, ever, going to replace the populist crud. A million music critics before you have lamented this and it is still a universal rule. Time to stop tilting at windmills.

So suggesting that everyone stopped listening to "bad" music is not a solution to "music's" problems. Music has no problems. It is not dying. Music is just the mixture of some you like, some you hate that it has always been. The problems the music industry has, whether you consider them valid or not, is not a music problem. It's an industry problem.

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Facepalm

Re: Music was the Greatest Bubble ever...

Venice? Buried in a canal!

Methinks you have erred and meant Vienna.

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Meh

Re: Music was the Greatest Bubble ever...

"We think there is still plenty of money in music, its just not being spread around. Their model only enriches the few to astronomic proportions,"

So music is just the same as any other industry, then?

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