A roster of 125 major American musicians have signed an open letter slating the streaming service Pandora for trying to cut its royalty rates.
Pandora has been asking Congress to push through the "Internet Radio Fairness Act" which will cut streaming royalties by 85%. Many industry observers feel the current streaming rates are already too low, and further cuts will do untold damage to artists and labels.
Artists who signed the letter include Rihanna
, Missy Elliot
and Billy Joel
"Why is the company asking Congress once again to step in and gut the royalties that thousands of musicians rely upon? That's not fair and that's not how partners work together," reads the letter by the coalition of artists and business people. The full letter will be published by Billboard later this week.
Pandora is pushing for the new law because its success is costing it more and more to run. Every time a track is streamed, it must pay additional licensing and rights fees, which it claims is becoming harder to support with advertising.
"The current law penalizes new media and is astonishingly unfair to Internet radio," Pandora said on its website. "We are asking for our listeners' support to help end the discrimination against internet radio. It's time for Congress to stop picking winners, level the playing field and establish a technology-neutral standard."