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Billy Joel, Rihanna fight Pandora over royalties bill, among 125 artists - list

Get more: Rihanna, Music
11/14/2012 by Corinne Heller

Billy Joel, Rihanna, Britney Spears and even members of Simple Minds, the group behind the 1985 "Breakfast Club" song "Don't You Forget About Me," are among 125 singers and musicians who have banded together to pen an open letter against Pandora Media Inc., expressing their opposition about proposed legislation regarding changes in royalties the company and other providers pay to stream music online.

A message posted on Pandora's website calls on listeners to contact their representatives and urge them to pass in Congress the Internet Radio Fairness Act, a bipartisan bill sponsored by three Democratic U.S. lawmakers, including a senator.

Pandora says it is currently charged more in royalty fees than satellite and cable companies, paying up to more than 50 percent of its revenue. The bill, it says, would end the "discrimination" in royalty rates. Pandora's popularity has grown since the company launched online in 2005 and had 59.2 million listeners in October.

The 125 music artists and musicians state in their letter, which was posted on the website of musicFIRST, a coalition of recording artists and music businesses and supporters, that they are "big fans" of Pandora and that it is because of this that they "helped give the company a discount on rates for the past decade.

The proposed legislation, they say, would "gut the royalties that thousands of musicians rely upon," adding: "That's not fair and that's not how partners work together."

The letter is set to be published in this weekend's edition of Billboard magazine. MusicFIRST said in a separate post that such a bill "could slash by 85 percent royalties paid to musicians and artists when their songs are played over Internet radio."

The group of 125 is also being backed by SoundExchange, a nonprofit performance rights organization that collects royalties from online, cable and satellite providers and distributes them to the music artists, groups and owners of the recordings.

"Although in 2011 we paid out more than $292 million in digital royalties to recording artists and record labels, approximately 90 percent of annual payments to artists were $5,000 or less," the group said on its website in October.

"SoundExchange supports the current standard, where artists receive the fair market value for their recordings - not a subsidized, discounted rate that forces artists and copyright owners to fund Pandora's growth," the company said in its message.

The full list of 125 artists and groups who have signed the letter is as follows:

1. Alabama
2. Alissa Moreno
3. Amy Grant
4. Andy Grammer
5. Ann and Nancy Wilson (Heart)
5. BeBe Winans
7. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
8. Billy Joel
9. Blondie
10. Bobby Rush
11. Bobby Whitlock
12. Bonnie Raitt
13. Brian Wilson
14. Britney Spears
15. Bruce Hornsby
16. Bryan Adams
17. Butch Trucks
18. Camper Van Beethoven
19. Cee Lo Green
20. Christina Perri
21. Chuck Wicks
22. Clint Black
23. CoCo Carmel
24. Colbie Caillat
25. Common
26. Cowboy Mouth
27. Cracker
28. Darius Rucker
29. Dave Stewart
30. David Crosby
31. David Gilmour
32. David Sanborn
33. Dead Kennedys
34. Derek Trucks
35. DionneWarwick
36. Don Henley
37. Down
38. Drew Davis
39. Duff McKagan
40. Easton Corbin
41. Eric Roberson
42. Flyleaf
43. FrankieValli and Bob Gaudio (The 4 Seasons)
44. Genevieve Goings
45. George Clinton
45. George Thorogood
46. Graham Nash
47. Greg Allman
48. Guy Forsyth
49. Gyptian
50. Hootie and The Blowfish
51. Jack Blades
52. Jackson Browne
53. Jaimoe
54. Jana Kramer
55. Janelle Monae
56. Jason Mraz
57. Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill (Simple Minds)
58. Jimmy Buffett
59. Joe Sample
60. Joel Crouse
61. Joel Rafael
62. John Fogerty
63. John Paul Jones
64. John Pointer
65. Jonatha Brooke
66. Josh Turner
67. Journey
68. Katy Perry
69. Keyshia Cole
70. KISS
71. Ludacris
72. Lupe Fiasco
73. Mallary Hope
74. Marc Quinones
75. Maroon 5
76. Martha Reeves
77. Megadeth
78. MichaelW. Smith
79. Mick Hucknall (Simply Red)
80. Mick Jones (Foreigner)
81. Missy Elliott
82. Nas
83. Ne-Yo
84. Nick Mason
85. Night Ranger
86. Oteil Burbridge
87. OtisWilliams (The Temptations)
88. Owl City
89. Pink Floyd
90. Primus
91. Raheem DeVaughn
92. Randy Crawford
93. Rihanna
94. Robert Cray
95. Robert Plant
96. Robin Thicke
97. Rodney Atkins
98. Roger Waters
99. Rush
100. Sara Bareilles
101. Sheryl Crow
102. Simple Minds
103. Skid Row
104. Steve Angello
105. Stevie Nicks
106. Survivor
107. Susan Tedeschi
108. T.I.
109. Taylor Dayne
110. Ted Nugent
111. The 5th Dimension
112. The Cab
113. The Doors
114. The Dream
115. The Game
116. The J.Geils Band
117. The Jazz Crusaders
118. The Pointer Sisters
119. TOTO
120. Vikter Duplaix
121. Vince Gil
122. Warren Haynes
123. Whodini
124. Trisha Yearwood 125. Zac Brown Band

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