This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Pandora and Paul Williams: Lots of Bark, but How Much Bite?

Stocks in this article: P SIRI AAPL

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The next time you're at a cocktail party and the conversation turns to Internet radio and music royalties, there's a sure-fire way to distinguish between the well informed and the hopelessly ignorant.

Do the discussants draw a distinction between performance royalties and songwriter/publisher royalties?

All else equal (particularly, forgetting the fact that AM/FM radio does not pay a performance royalty), entities that license music pay two royalties: A performance royalty and songwriter/publisher royalty. Michael DeGusta's blog post and attendant pie chart provide a sound illustration, using the 1,000,000-plus spins Cracker's Low received on Pandora (P):

Pandora pays its performance royalty to SoundExchange and its songwriting/publishing royalty to groups such as ASCAP and BMI. These groups keep some cash and distribute the rest to the performers, songwriters and such.

Earlier this month, I met with hall of fame singer/songwriter and ASCAP President and Board Chairman Paul Williams at the landmark Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills. Williams has been particularly critical of Pandora's stance and attendant moves in in the royalty dustup:

Pandora is trying every trick in the book to brazenly and unconscionably underpay and take advantage of the creative labor that produces the core offering of their business -- music written by individual songwriters and composers. ASCAP has an ethical obligation to serve and protect the hundreds of thousands of small and independent songwriters, composers and music publishers we represent to ensure that they receive fair compensation when their songs are performed on any technology platforms.

Strong rhetoric. But, and I mean this is in the most positive and glowing way possible, Paul Williams' bark is bigger than his bite.

This is a genuine guy with a genuine argument against a company he genuinely wants to see succeed. Either he duped me with his charm or I am as good as I think I am at assessing first impressions.

Because there's no question, Williams is a charming guy, grateful for his success.

As Williams riffed, he wrote a song for Elvis Presley in the early '70s and, here he is today, with two credits on Daft Punk's smash Random Access Memories.

How do you not come across as charming when you humbly relay the story of how you met Elvis in Liza Minnelli's Las Vegas Riviera Hotel and Casino dressing room?

Elvis walked in. His reason for not knowing which one of his records Paul Williams wrote: "I don't keep track of that sort of thing." When Williams informed Presley it was indeed Where Do I Go From Here?, Elvis said he liked performing that one and asked Williams which album it is on. Williams reply: "I don't keep track of that sort of thing."

1 of 4

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,901.13 +96.33 0.54%
S&P 500 2,071.59 +0.94 0.05%
NASDAQ 4,771.9140 +6.5340 0.14%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs