Pink Floyd Calls Pandora, Spotify Cheap: Spotify Responds

Pink Floyd, like most musicians, want the money due to them in royalties — and they are not afraid to call out streaming online radio companies like Pandora or Spotify.

This ongoing battle between Pink Floyd and online streaming companies is nothing new — but the excuses that Pandora and Spotify are giving have improved over time.

Pink Floyd is not the only band to complain about Spotify and Pandora being cheap — but they are considered one of the most vocal.

In June of 2013, three members of Pink Floyd authored a USA Today article about Pandora’s attempt to ask Congress to pass legislation called the Internet Radio Fairness Act. Instead of going through with the Internet Radio Fairness Act, Pandora decided to focus on lobbying the Copyright Royalty Board, according to Billboard Magazine.

Despite this, Pink Floyd and “over 130 bands” were incensed that Pandora had the idea to reduce royalty payout rates in the first place. About Pandora’s shady interest in keeping royalties, Pink Floyd stated the following.

“For almost all working musicians, it’s also a question of economic survival. Nearly 90% of the artists who get a check for digital play receive less than $5,000 a year. They cannot afford the 85% pay cut Pandora asked Congress to impose on the music community.”

Since they initiated the Internet Radio Fairness Act around 2012, Pandora and Spotify have continued to have problems with musicians like Pink Floyd that are unsure if the money streaming radio is offering is worth it. Beck shares Pink Floyd’s negative opinion of Spotify, and Taylor Swift has also stated that YouTube is a problematic stream of income.

About Beck’s experience with Spotify, Spin reported in November of 2013, “He reportedly said the payments he receives from the streaming service provider aren’t enough to cover the costs of the people who work with him live and in the studio.”

To counteract negative press generated by Pink Floyd and Taylor Swift (among others), Spotify published on their blog in November of 2014 that they had paid artists $2 billion in royalties since their creation.

Regardless, what Pandora and Spotify now want musicians to know is that they are not trying to give them a good financial return for streaming their music — but instead offer valuable research data about the musician’s listeners.

No detailed apology has ever been paid to artists like Pink Floyd by online streaming companies — but Pandora has tried to improve benefits for musicians. On May 19, Pandora published a blog post stating the following.

“In September of last year we launched the Artist Marketing Platform (AMP) with Artist Insights, a tool that allows every musician on Pandora to view their entire audience and listening history on the service…. In February, we added Artist Audio Messaging—a new product enabling direct communication between artists and these fans…. Today, we are adding another layer to this platform with the agreement to acquire Next Big Sound, the leading provider of online music analytics.”

Does Spotify have any excuses for not paying artists like Pink Floyd a higher cut of the profits? The New York Post stated on May 23 that Spotify claims “middlemen” take too much of Pink Floyd’s slice of streaming radio cash.

At a Spotify news conference, the CEO stated his company has paid out top artists (but did not directly cite Pink Floyd) between $5 million to $10 million per year. For this reason, when artists like Pink Floyd talk about Spotify or Pandora not paying enough, CEO Daniel Ek tends to think maybe the artist’s management team is simply taking too much of a cut.

[Feature image via Getty Images.]