Business News Deals Digital Labels & Publishers

Pandora signs up with rights admin company as it plots on-demand service

By | Published on Wednesday 8 June 2016


To date Pandora hasn’t had to worry about the mechanical royalties mess that has hit the on-demand streaming services in the US because, as a personalised radio service, God decided (well, someone did) that the digital firm was only exploiting the performing rights of the song copyright.

And those can be licensed via your good friends over there at BMI and ASCAP (et al). Or, in Pandora’s case, via your good litigation foes over there at BMI and ASCAP (et al).

But with Pandora seeking to diversify, because it’s struggling to break even with its ad-funded personalised radio business and so wants a slice of the entirely loss making on-demand streaming market too, the digital firm needs to start worrying about the shit storm that is mechanical rights licensing in America. And to that end, it has signed up with Music Reports, the rights administration company that was bragging at SXSW earlier this year that its platform could overcome the streaming sector’s mechanical rights problem.

Confirming that his company was now working with Music Reports, Pandora boss Tim Westergren said earlier this week: “As we expand the listening experience on Pandora, it’s important that we continue to ensure music makers are not only accurately and fairly compensated, but also have more control and greater transparency around the use of their art. That’s why Music Reports’ opt-in licensing and full reporting infrastructure is so important. I’m THRILLED to be working with another partner that puts artists’ interests first”.

For Music Reports, it’s GM Bill Colitre added: “Pandora and Music Reports share a commitment to comprehensive licensing solutions so that royalties properly flow to publishers and songwriters. Music Reports is in a unique position to reach every active publisher in the market, ensuring Pandora can offer them all the opportunity to participate in these new services, on the same terms. This is another huge step forward for music licensing in the United States”.

Super duper. Elsewhere in Pandora tries to placate the music industry as it diversifies news, the company has hired Adam Parness, most recently at Amazon, to be its Head Of Publisher Licensing & Relations, a role which will, in no small part, be about keeping songwriters and publishers on side as the streaming firm seeks to move into both on-demand services and into new markets beyond the US, Australia and New Zealand.