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Downtown Music Publishing does direct deal with Pandora

By | Published on Tuesday 22 December 2015

Downtown Music

If there is one thing you can say about 2015, it’s that direct deals with Pandora were definitely in vogue in the US music publishing community. In fact, anyone showing up at the American music publishers’ annual Christmas cheese and wine bash without a direct deal with Pandora was laughed out of the room.

No one was laughing at Downtown Music Publishing though, which has just inked a direct deal with the personalised radio service. It follows fellow indie Songs Music Publishing and major publishers Sony/ATV and Warner/Chappell in signing a Pandora agreement.

BMG, of course, went direct with the digital firm last year, way before everyone else. And to think, it was BMG being laughed at during last Christmas’s cheese and wine bash. “You did a direct deal with Pandora”, the other publishing fellows guffawed. “You big fat suckers you”. But not this year, oh no. This year BMG got to be all smug about everything, and had first dibs on the gorgonzola. It was quite the party.

Now I think about it, I hope the US music publishers don’t actually have a cheese and wine bash each Christmas, otherwise this little story I’m telling might turn out to be libellous. Anyway, just know this: Pandora used to license all of its song rights via the collective licensing system; but collective licensing rules Stateside are up for review and that may not be possible by this time next year; so Pandora is pre-empting the change by doing direct deals already.

Now here’s Downtown CEO Justin Kalifowitz with a quote: “This agreement with Pandora is a milestone in our on-going mission to deliver equitable, accurate and timely payments for our songwriters. It also serves as a reminder that songwriter royalties are best negotiated in a free market. We’re looking forward to working more closely with Pandora in optimising this agreement and know that, in the words of Cy Coleman, the best is yet to come!”

The best is yet to come? That’s going to be quite the cheese tray at the 2016 bash then.