Industry Roundup: Pandora's Warzone, Vine Dies and More

Even Pink Floyd got involved in the war of words between Pandora and songwriters this week. Meanwhile, you'll love the new way to discover live music in your city.

Ultimate Guitar

What a week it's been for internet radio. We all knew songwriters were unhappy with Pandora's efforts to reduce internet radio royalty payments, but then one of the biggest bands in history got involved and blew the whole debate wide open again. Read on below for more on that.

Elsewhere, we discovered a great new web app called which you ought to check out, even if it doesn't support your city yet - it's one to watch for sure. And finally, 2013's hottest new social media service could have died out already, after a well-known competitor entered the mini-video space. Can you guess who we mean?, the new way to discover concerts in your city

A promising new service with a great new way to discover live music in your area has just launched.

Preamp.Fm is simple: click the name of your nearest city, and a live video playlist of bands that are touring the city starts to play. You get to see the band performing in their element, and if you like it there's a big clear "Get Tickets" button.

A great example of a strong idea with decent execution. It's only available in four US cities, but you can register interest and the developers will roll out the service to other locations as soon as possible. It's a smart little business too - the developers can get a cut of ticket sales through the site, so everyone wins.

Pandora vs Musicians

Pandora have been targeted this week for allegedly campaigning to reduce musician royalty payouts by 85%, according to a stern open letter from Pink Floyd. In the same week, David Lowery said he earned more from selling one t-shirt than from one million plays on Pandora.

Of course, the truth isn't that clear cut. On one side, Pandora boss Tim Westergren has been defending the company and accusing the RIAA of forming an anti-Pandora conspiracy:

"The first falsehood being disseminated is that Pandora is seeking to reduce artist royalties by 85%. That is a lie manufactured by the RIAA and promoted by their hired guns to mislead and agitate the artist community."

He also pointed to a breakdown of Pandora royalties, which suggest that David Lowery shouldn't have made only $16 from one million plays after all - it should have been more like $234. Pretty low, but still, more than $16.

"There is a tremendous amount of misinformation being spread on this topic" adds Westergren. "First we need to clarify what a 'spin' on Pandora means. Each spin on Pandora reaches a single person, compared to a 'play' on FM radio that reaches potentially millions of people. In other words, a million spins on Pandora might be equivalent to a single play on a large FM station."

So Pandora is effectively just as good for promotion as mainstream radio, and pays just as much. Right?

So why is it allegedly campaigning to reduce royalty rates even further?

Digital radio is going to be an important part of music's future, so it's right for musicians to campaign and get a solid deal early on. Pandora has a similar view - that it wants to get itself a deal which means the company can live on and succeed without the risk of collapse. We just have to hope they can reach a compromise before the whole house falls down.

Vine, the video app from Twitter, starts to wither

Vine, the video-sharing platform by Twitter, has had a sudden drop in interest ever since Instagram Video appeared last week, according to the number of links being shared to each service on Twitter:

If you've been using Vine to promote your band, you might prefer it to Instagram but you've ultimately got to go where the audience goes. And if you're yet to decide which new video platform is better, head over to for a fun way to compare the content on each service.

That's the end of our music business roundup for the week. If you've got a view on internet radio or anything else discussed today, head into the comments where we'll be taking part in the debate.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Funk Monk
    You gotta really play your ass off nowadays to make enough to live a normal life as a musician.
    "David Lowery said he earned more from selling one t-shirt than from one million plays on Pandora." ...while conveniently ignoring the amount of albums sold as a direct result of people sampling his music on Pandora.
    Tough times when music artists need to raise shit over not being paid $200 to have their music advertised.
    They used Cracker's 'Low' as an example? Wow...surprised they picked that one, instead of something more typical.