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Pandora Denies Pink Floyd Royalty-Cut Accusations

Pink Floyd
MJ Kim, Getty Images

There’s no denying that streaming royalty rates are lower than those generated by physical sales. And according to the surviving members of Pink Floyd, the online streaming service Pandora is sneakily trying to make them even smaller.

As we reported earlier this week, former bandmates David Gilmour, Roger Waters and Nick Mason published an op-ed piece in USA Today accusing Pandora of not only failing to “fairly pay the artists and creators who make the music at the core of their businesses,” but also trying to trick artists into supporting legislation that would impose an 85 percent royalty reduction.

According to Pandora’s PR department, however, it’s all a big misunderstanding. The company has responded with a press release of its own, offering “enormous respect for the members of Pink Floyd and their amazing artistic contributions” as well as “the genuineness of their opinion.”

“Unfortunately, they have been given badly misleading information – the result of a well-orchestrated campaign by the RIAA and their lobbying arm to mislead and agitate artists,” continues the statement. “A glaring example is the assertion that Pandora supports an ’85 percent artist pay cut.’ That is simply not true.”

But it’s true enough for the musicFIRST coalition, which has responded with a post of its own that not only backs up that 85 percent figure, but accuses Pandora of engaging in “shady parsing” and “doubletalk.” Clearly, streaming isn’t going away anytime soon, and Spotify’s recent addition of the Floyd catalog suggests that as distasteful as the band members find it, they’re willing to join in under the right conditions. But it’s just as clear that the debate over how to guarantee a living wage for recording artists in the digital age is nowhere near over.

Next: Top 10 Pink Floyd Songs

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