Monday, March 17, 2014

Pandora ASCAP rate ruling 'a clear defeat for songwriters'

Sony/ATV CEO Martin Bandier has slammed the recent ASCAP rate court ruling - which will seen Pandora pay just 1.85% of its annual revenue to the PRO – as “a clear defeat for songwriters”.

ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento seemed similarly dissatisfied with the ruling, saying that “recent agreements negotiated without the artificial contraints of a consent decree make clear that the market rate for internet radio is substantially higher than 1.85%”.

However, LoFrumento said that the PRO is “pleased the court recognised the need for Pandora to pay a higher rate than traditional radio stations,” something that the platform has been pushing for some time.

Bandier said in no uncertain terms: “This rate is woefully inadequate and further emphasises of the need for reform in the rate court proceedings. Songwriters can't live in a world where streaming services only pay 1.85% of their revenue. This is a loss, and not something we can live with."

LoFrumento agreed, saying that the decision “further demonstrates the need to review the entire regulatory structure, including the decades-old consent decrees that govern PRO licensing.”

Pandora inked a direct deal with Universal Music Publishing at the beginning of this year for the company's BMI repertoire.

Universal Publishing's chairman and CEO Zach Horowitz said of the deal: "Today, songwriters and composers are too often denied fair compensation for their work because BMI and ASCAP, the two major performance rights organisations that license these services, are regulated by antiquated consent decrees, conceived in a different century for a different world."

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