Billy Joel, Rihanna Fight Pandora Over Internet Radio Fairness Act

Billy Joel, Rihanna, and several other musicians wrote an open letter to Congress today asking lawmakers to reject the Pandora-backed “Internet Radio Fairness Act.”

Billy Joel, Rihanna, Missy Elliot, Common, Maroon 5, and more than 120 other artists signed the letter which claims that the Internet Radio Fairness Act would cut royalties to artists by 85 percent.

The letter states that the artists are all fans of Pandora’s internet radio but argues that the Internet Radio Fairness Act is unfair to musicians.

The letter reads:

“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.”

SoundExchange President Michael Huppe said that musicians could see their royalty pay slashed by as much as 85 percent if the Internet Radio Fairness Act gets passed.

Huppe said:

“This issue is critical to the tens-of-thousands of recording artists we represent – all of whom rely on this digital performance revenue stream to make a living … It is important that we protect artists and the long-term value of their music, which is, after all, the foundation of Internet radio.”

Pandora Media argues that internet radio stations pay higher royalties for songs than traditional radio stations and satellite radio providers. The Internet Radio Fairness Act, according to Pandora, would level the playing field.

Pandora writes:

“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 … The current law penalizes new media and is astonishingly unfair to Internet radio.”

The open letter signed by Billy, Joel, Rihanna, and 120 other artists will be published in full in this weekend’s Billboard Magazine.