Sunday, August 17, 2008

Maybe We Should Befriend PANDORA?

Yes, our music discovery, internet radio competitor Pandora. As this article on ReadWriteWeb explains Pandora is in a fight to the finish with the RIAA and Sound Exchange just like "regular" radio is. Now some will argue, let 'em go belly-up; one less competitor we have to contend with. The truth is--their problem is our problem and maybe we, Pandora and us (stick and transmitter radio), should work together and figure it out. Put up a united front and take on music industry cartel. In the end, their royalty issues are our royalty issues.

Doesn't Pandora surviving this challenge ultimately help us?

What am I missing here?

Pandora On the Verge of Closing Shop
Written by Corvida / August 16, 2008 5:34 PM

Pandora is an internet radio service that allows you to create your own radio station based on songs and artists that you like. While you can't necessarily pick and choose what you'll hear on the service, you can fine-tune your radio station's tastes by giving the songs that Pandora recommends a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Pandora on the iPhone is one of the best applications for streaming music and finding new tunes. So, what will the service's 1 million plus users do if Pandora pulls its own plug?

The Battle of Music

Founder Tim Westergren has stated that the service is approaching a "pull-the-plug kind of decision" for the service. Why is this happening? Last year, web radio giants were hit with outrageously ridiculous fees by a federal panel for every song that would be played on their stations. This caused a lot of services to either shutdown, or go through what Pandora has been experiencing for the past year. In doing so, it seems the financial problems the music industry has set out to create in order to win the constant battle between rights, piracy, and copyrighted music, are working.

Last Stand, Last Chance

Pandora's founder is waiting for a ray of light in a fight being led by Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Calif.). Berman is attempting to arrange a few last-minute deals between web radio stations and SoundExchange, the organization that represents artists and record companies that would reduce the the recent fees. However, Westergren isn't going to hold his breath for too long, stating that, "The moment we think this problem in Washington is not going to get solved, we have to pull the plug because all we're doing is wasting money." We don't blame you Tim.

What Will You Do?

There are plenty of petitions floating around the web to help the cause, but the law is the law and petitions may not help matters in this situation. We'd be saddened to see Pandora close its doors. While services like Last.FM aren't showing any of the same signs, we wonder if the same fate may be in the not-so-distant future for our other favorite music services. If it is, what will you do?


Anonymous said...

If by "befriend" do you mean someone should buy Pandora a la CBS buying If the vencaps can't bail 'em out, who else can afford to?

HARVE ALAN said...

Honestly, I was thinking about the legal and political aspects of fighting Sound Exchange and had not considered a buyout.

Anonymous said... do you "fight SoundExchange?" They're operating under the terms of the law. Sure the law is unfair, but it was argued in court, and the facts and figures are pretty clear.

You drive 80 in a 55 zone, and get a ticket. You can fight it in court, or you can pay the fine. What do you do?

I find it funny that the music industry dislikes all the commercialization that has hit mainstream media. Yet their solutions to the financial difficulties experienced by Pandora and others is to become more like the commercial entities they and others dislike the most.

Which is why I believe that if and when internet radio gets past this current situation, and when wifi is more available, the content will sound more like AM & FM, and less like what it sounds like now. All because that's what it takes to stay in business.