David Lowery’s “My Song Got Played On Pandora 1 Million Times and All I Got Was $16.89″ article has been picked up over and over and over, including by very respectable folks, often without comment.
This has left many readers with two impressions:
- Pandora only paid $16.89 for 1 million plays.
- Pandora pays much lower royalty rates than Sirius XM and especially terrestrial AM/FM radio.
Music royalties are complex, but both of these are patently untrue.
None of this means Pandora ought to pay less in royalties. On the contrary, it seems quite likely that others should be paying more. And perhaps the non-artists involved in the transaction shouldn’t be taking 53% of the total for their services. But attacking Pandora with intentionally misleading statistics just undermines the credibility of the argument.