Pandora, Spotify, and the Internet “radio” rates

Damon Krukowski (of Galaxie 500 fame) tweeted information about his royalty rates from Pandora back in October and has followed up today with an article on Pitchfork going into detail:

… by my calculation it would take songwriting royalties for roughly 312,000 plays on Pandora to earn us the profit of one– one– LP sale. (On Spotify, one LP is equivalent to 47,680 plays.)

Curiously, he neglects to mention his terrestrial FM royalty rates in what is essentially a lament on Internet radio.

What Krukowski misses is the real danger of these services being on-demand and therefore supplanting most purchasing desire. Traditional radio also has very low royalty rates, but given its scheduled nature (off-demand) serves artists big and small as an advertising platform without cannibalizing sales.

What’s most worrisome about Krukowski’s logic are the positions drawn about the upcoming royalty rate debates in Congress:

Pandora in fact considers this additional musicians’ royalty an extraordinary financial burden, and they are aggressively lobbying for a new law– it’s now a bill before the U.S. Congress– designed to relieve them of it.

Sadly, Krukowski’s financial self-interest has him on the wrong side of this debate; if you’ve ever wondered why we’re bereft of amazing Internet radio stations — why we don’t find the same satisfying application of niche and micro-focus in Internet radio as we do on many websites — look no further than the current royalty rates.

Spotify and Pandora are not traditional radio and should not be rated as such. They’re new age rental services which should reward musicians and labels by charging rental rates. It’s not clear whether that’s a viable business model, but at least it’s honest.

The Case for Open Source in Schools

A very good case for demanding open source in public schools:

Educators have been called upon throughout history to combat censorship imposed by various powers over the flow of information. The censorship being applied today comes in the form of licenses that lock away the tools to build the information age and laws that limit fair use in ways that are unprecedented in the modern era. The powers imposing this censorship attempt to create an artificial scarcity of information and the tools to work with that information to feed their greed. Where would education be today if, for example, the mechanism and idea of the Gutenberg press were not only hidden, but protected by threat of dire punishment under the law if anyone dared to attempt to “reverse engineer” it?

The rest of the article is just as good and contains dozens of links to similar resources.

(The quote above is Copyright 2001-2007 Terry Vessels.)