ASCAP licenses access to the song catalogs of songwriters and composers, which are owned by music publishers. ASCAP members write the music and lyrics of songs and include famous names like Duke Ellington, Beyonce, Hans Zimmer and Henry Mancini.
Pandora pays a fee to songwriters and composers for streaming their music, in addition to paying a royalty fee to recording artists and music labels for playing the sound recording of their songs online.
Williams argued that Pandora's move is just another attempt by the Oakland, Calif.-based company to pay lower fees when compensating songwriters and composers for streaming their songs.
"Internet and traditional AM/FM radio services are very different businesses with different formats, using music in very different ways," Williams said. "Pandora’s claims against songwriters and publishers further proves the importance of ASCAP’s mission to protect the human rights of its songwriter and composer members to be treated fairly by businesses that publicly perform their music in this new digital era."
ASCAP is also taking its fight against Pandora to Twitter.
The organization published a pair of posts on its official Twitter account on Wednesday that asked its followers to re-tweet its messages with the hashtag, "#PandoraExploitsCreators." The tweets included an attachment to a picture of Williams and one of his recent quotes: "Creative works give soul to the machines. When our works are driving huge profits, we should expect to be treated justly and fairly."
David Israelite, the CEO of the National Association of Music Publishers, slammed Pandora's op-ed on Tuesday, calling it "sad step in Pandora's escalating war against songwriters."