The Washington Post

Celebvocate: Kara DioGuardi, Linda Perry and others on Web radio royalties for songwriters

Songwriters left to right Lee Miller, BC Jean, Kara DioGuardi, Linda Perry and Desmond Child (playing piano and singing "Livin' On a Prayer") at the NMPA songwriters showcase on Capitol Hill on November 28, 2012. (Photo courtesy of Susan Biddle)

Celebvocates! An occasional look at the show-biz folks who come to D.C. on behalf of a cause close to their heart — or pocketbook. Wednesday’s visitors: Songwriters Kara DioGuardi, Desmond Child and Linda Perry.

Setting: A pop-up concert at the Rayburn House Office Building.

Cause: Forcing Web radio giant Pandora to cough up more money for songwriters.

Bona fides: Former “American Idol” judge (DioGuardi); Bon Jovi co-writer (Child); Christina Aguilera hitmaker (Perry).

Backup: Fellow songwriters Lee Miller, who’s written for Trace Adkins; BC Jean, a Beyonce collaborator.

What they want: Well, more money — for themselves and songwriters just breaking into the business. Five of their songs accumulated a total of 33 million plays on Pandora during the first quarter of this year — but generated only, in total, $600 in royalties, according to the National Music Publishers’ Association. (Pandora execs argue Web radio can’t afford standard commercial radio rates and are lobbying for even lower payments to songwriters.)

Songwriter Kara DioGuardi sings "Sober" as Linda Perry and Desmond Child look on at the NMPA songwriters showcase on Capitol Hill on November 28, 2012. (Photo courtesy of Susan Biddle)

How they sounded: Like the pros they are. Miller kicked it off with his sentimental “You’re Gonna Miss This”; DioGuardi belted “Sober”; Child did a contemplative “Livin’ on a Prayer”; and Jean sang “If I Were a Boy.” Perry, something of a recluse, said she came to D.C. to put a face on her ubiquitous hit “Beautiful”: “I wanted you to meet the girl who probably touched your life in some way.”

Soundbite: “We are truly America’s smallest business,” said Miller. “For me, it’s just me.”

Bonus sing-a-long: Child got the Hill staffers to join in on the chorus of “Livin’ on a Prayer” — which they did enthusiastically despite being entirely sober, as far as we could tell. “That was awesome!” said one before heading off to a congressional hearing.

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