The Black Keys, David Byrne, Thom “Chuckles” Yorke and now… Bette Midler? She has tweeted that Spotify and Pandora’s payments are so low that it makes it “impossible for songwriters to earn a living”. She then revealed that 4.17m plays on Pandora in a three-month period netted just $114.11. It is not clear from her solitary tweet on the matter if this payment was to her alone (or as part of co-writes), if it was for one song or multiple ones or if it just covered publishing. Her criticisms were amplified by Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler who, attending a National Music Publishers Association event, said, “If the laws continue going the way they are, [songwriters] will never be paid fairly for [their] own participation. So people, forgive me for being a little jaded about the state of copyright.” The timing of these comments are interesting, coming as they do following a federal court ruling that said the rate Pandora pays to ASCAP will not, for now, be raised despite the latter’s heavy lobbying to up the royalties it collects from the service. While Midler is perfectly within her rights to attack what she sees as low payments, a little more detail on what exactly the Pandora payment covered would be welcomed in order to get the complete picture here (as would what she gets from Spotify, as she only cited Pandora figures despite listing Spotify first in her tweet).

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