Pandora Sues ASCAP; Doc Watson’s Guitar Up for Auction; New Lindi Ortega Video

Juli Thanki | November 8th, 2012

  • In non-internet life, our friend Kevin Coyne of Country Universe is an elementary school principal in the Rockaways, an area heavily hit by Hurricane Sandy. Many of his teachers, students, and staff were affected by the storm. Here’s how you can help if you’re so inclined. Thanks.
  • Pandora sued ASCAP. reports: Pandora, which is also lobbying the U.S. Congress for lower royalties on recordings, today asked a federal court in New York to set “reasonable” license fees from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers through 2015. Pandora is seeking a blanket licensing fee that would cover all songs represented by the 435,000-member group. The radio service has said the current fees prevent profitability. Ascap and Pandora reached an “experimental” fee agreement in 2005 that lasted until 2010. Terms of their current arrangement weren’t disclosed in the filing.
  • From a Digital Music News article about the Pandora-ASCAP battle: There’s one gigantic problem with trying to drive publishing royalties down.  Because publishers themselves are trying to drive them up, by a huge margin.  And part of the motivation behind that push is that publishers are receiving just a fraction of the payouts allocated for recordings.  “Right now, Pandora pays record labels $12.50 for every $1 paid to songwriters and music publishers,” a top publishing executive recently ranted to Digital Music News.  
  • Charlie DanielsMatraca Berg, and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band are just a few of the acts announced as part of MerleFest’s killer 2013 lineup.
  • Emmylou Harris on songwriting: I think writing is the loneliest part of being a musician. If you’re in the studio, you have company and it’s a collaborative thing. But writing, especially if you write by yourself, is the hardest part. I don’t know if that’s why I’ve resisted it. Anybody who writes a song knows it’s hard. For me, it’s hard getting started. I have to literally clear a space on the calendar to do it. And then, you’ve committed and you better come up with a good song.
  • Harris also shared her technique for composing a set list with The Sydney Morning Herald: I write up the set the day of the show, and then I might change it in the middle, which drives everybody nuts.
  • Michael Franco of wrote a feature on Tift Merritt and her new album, Traveling Alone.
  • Marc Broussard has been signed to Vanguard Records. His next record, A Life Worth Living, will be released in early 2013. (via press release)
  • Country California’s CM Wilcox picked his Prime Cuts from albums released in September.
  • There are a couple of interesting features in the Nashville Scene: one on Bobby Bare and one on David Olney.
  • Here’s a new installment of PBS web series, Off Book, called “We ❤ Retro Media: Vinyl, VHS, Tapes & Film.” The episode summary: We live in a digital world that gives us all the media we could possibly dream of at the click of a mouse, yet many people miss the old school physical formats from our past. Listening to vinyl and cassettes allows us to connect with music in a different way than MP3s. VHS and 8mm create visual aesthetics and atmospheres that are difficult to replicate in digital video. And the surprises inherent to analog instant photography help embed an organic quality to the recording of our memories. The challenges these retro formats present to capturing and experiencing media actually enhance our appreciation for the sound or image, making the art we love a bit more intimate, and real.
  • Faith Hill will debut her new “American Heart” video on Facebook and her site tonight.
  • Download Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors’ Passenger Seat on NoiseTrade.
  • Fiddler April Verch is working on a new album for release in the spring. Tonight she’s playing a StageIt show that you can stream for a small donation.


  1. Rick
    November 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    On last night’s Nashville I was bemused by Deacon’s performance at the Bluebird. The main instrument heard in the song was a steel guitar and I didn’t see one with the musicians around Deacon! Instead there was a fiddler and a guy on mandolin and I couldn’t really hear those instruments in the song. I would consider this a visual “continuity” issue.

    Is it just me or is Lindi Ortega’s vocal style really annoying? Sheesh.

    As for physical media adding to the experience, I heartily agree! LP record albums were the best but CDs in jewel cases are okay. Now most CD’s I buy (from indie artists) are in those crappy little cardboard sleeves that are worthless and don’t have an edge where you can read when they are stacked in a box! This will only hasten the impending demise of CDs and that’s a shame.

  2. idlewildsouth
    November 9, 2012 at 12:04 am

    The steel is stage left, behind a column.

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