Pandora CFO Mike Herring has an idea about what’s wrong with the music industry, and he’s pretty sure it’s not Pandora or most of the music-streaming sites like it. Herring places that blame squarely on the turtleneck-wearing shoulders of Steve Jobs, declaring that he “eviscerated the music industry with the launch of iTunes.” That comes from Billboard, which reported from a conference call Herring gave with investors about the future of Pandora. Herring didn’t really explain what he meant by the Steve Jobs comment, but he did add that “the download was supposed to save [the music industry]” but didn’t, so now it has fallen to streaming services like Pandora to pull music out of the hole that iTunes put it in.
Herring even has a plan for how to do this: He wants to pay artists and record labels even less money in royalties than he does now. He says Pandora “paid 40 percent of its Q3 earnings to the labels,” which comes from a rate of 0.14 cents per stream. He wants to lower that to 0.11 cents per stream, even though the group that “collects and distributes” the royalties wants it raised to 0.25. Herring doesn’t say how this will help the music industry in general, but at least it would be good for him.