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Pink Floyd stars take aim at Pandora bosses over royalties overhaul

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Jun 25, 2013 | 3:40pm EDT

Pink Floyd stars Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason have taken aim at bosses behind online radio service Pandora, accusing them of attempting to trick artists into supporting their call for reduced royalties. The ageing rockers have come together to write an op-ed piece for USA Today to criticise music company executives for lobbying lawmakers in the U.S. Congress to pass the Internet Radio Fairness Act, which would potentially reduce royalty payments to songwriters and performers by as much as 85 per cent. A previous attempt to push for the bill failed last year (12) after 125 artists, including Billy Joel and Rihanna, joined forces to sign an open letter urging Pandora chiefs to drop the drastic plan. However, the Pink Floyd stars claim the firm's heads have employed more sneaky tactics this time around, allegedly getting big names to support a petition which makes no mention of the pay cut and instead states: "We are all fervent advocates for the fair treatment of artists." Criticising the wording of the new campaign, the rockers write, "Fine print is one thing. But a musician could read this 'letter of support' a dozen times and hold it up to a funhouse mirror for good measure without realising she was signing a call to cut her own royalties to pad Pandora's bottom line." The trio goes on to note, "A business that exists to deliver music can't really complain that its biggest cost is music." The bandmates insist they are open to compromise, but warn Pandora's owners: "Tricking artists into signing a confusing petition without explaining what they are really being asked to support only poisons the well." The Pandora complaint comes days after the group agreed to allow Spotify bosses to upload its back catalogue to their Internet streaming website following years of refusals. They promised to unlock their hits after setting fans a challenge to reach one million hits for their classic 1975 track Wish You Were Here - and the goal was reached last week (17Jun13).

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