Rihanna, Billy Joel, Missy Elliott and Others Fight Pandora For Royalty Payments

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By: Adelle Platon / November 15, 2012

Pandora is coming under fire after music’s most notable figures including Billy Joel, Missy Elliott, Rihanna and 125 others are demanding royalty payments.

In an open letter to the online music company, artists are trying to stop them from changing how artists are getting paid. Pandora is currently lobbying for Congress to pass the “Internet Radio Fairness Act,” which would reportedly cut about 85 percent of royalty compensation in the artists’ pockets.

“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,” said the letter, which will be published in Billboard magazine this weekend.

Pandora, which was founded over a decade ago and is a mostly advertisement-supported company, argues that the current bill is unfair to Internet radio. “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.”

Its founder and chief strategy officer Tim Westergren feels that artists and online radio should work in tandem. “Internet radio and the artists whose music is played and listened to on the Internet are indeed all in this together,” he said in a statement. “A sustainable Internet radio industry will benefit all artists, big and small.”