What can we do to save Pandora?

August 19, 2008 at 3:06 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Evidently Pandora announced today that they would rather shut down than continue to pay 70% of their revenue in royalty fees in order to bring music to their listeners.

I first read about this on Twitter, when @BrittBravo posted a link to this article from TechCrunch.  Here’s the comment I posted:

@David Damore That is exactly the question I think we should be asking: what can we do to help? Maybe Pandora can do a feasibility study for alternate revenue streams. At least to cover the costs of certain artists/labels who overcharge for the rights to play their music. Like if there’s an artist you truly love, maybe you pay $5 a year to add them to your station.

Or sell artist merchandise through the site. Or have “reseller” opportunities for bloggers who would like to provide Pandora as a service. Or only play music from artists and labels who don’t charge (then it’d be up to us to put pressure on the ones to do overcharge, and get them to come back).

I don’t know. It’s a complicated issue, and I’m not familiar with the regulations/laws/etc. But there’s got to be a way to keep Pandora around, and whatever it is will likely be one of the first steps toward a major revolution in the music industry (which is coming anyway).

A lot of people have argued (okay, maybe not a lot, I only saw one and am extrapolating) that music shouldn’t be free, implying that Pandora’s model–and the movement toward free music in general–means there’s no way to make money as an artist.  This is simply not true.  You just need to rethink the way that money is made in the music industry.

Just because I can download free mp3s of a band that I like, doesn’t mean that they’re never going to get any money from me.  I LOVE live shows.  Let me have your music, and let me know when you’re in town, and I’ll buy a ticket.  Sell merchandise.  Sell your music on vinyl.  Or special collections.  Or whatever it is that bands like Radiohead do to make money when they put music out for free.

There’s got to be a way to preserve Pandora’s place on the web.  They can’t give in.  How will I ever find new music?!  Please don’t make me go back to the way it was before Pandora revolutionized my life, and fundamentally changed my relationship to music.  It’d be a step backward in the evolution of the species.  (Or internet.  Music industry.  You know.)

So who has a great idea and can fix this?  Somebody does.  Out with it!  We need you.

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