Hats off to economist David Touve, who’s made a thought-provoking contribution to the debate around Pandora’s royalty payments. How? By trying to work out how much US terrestrial radio (or ‘Big Radio’) stations would owe if they had to pay performance royalties to labels and artists at the same rates as Pandora. “I estimate that the royalty pool would be pretty big: approximately $2.5 billion,” explains Touve in a blog post, which also shows his workings. “Were Big Radio to pay for the performance of sound recordings at the statutory webcasting rates established by the US Copyright Royalty Board (aka, the CRB Default Rates), I estimate the royalty pool would expand considerably in size: approximately $4.7 billion.” It’s an important contribution to the debate: Pandora has been fielding lots of criticism over its desire to reduce its royalty payments, but the Big Radio stations are facing their own questions about whether they should be paying performance royalties.

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