Pandora Sues ASCAP Over Royalties

After more than a year of negotiations, Pandora is suing the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in an effort to lower its music royalty fees.

Terrestrial radio, too, recently made a similar move. The Radio Music Licensing Committee negotiated a better rate for traditional radio, however the RMLC recently sued SESAC on behalf of broadcasters in an effort to get better terms.

Pandora is asking a federal court to set “reasonable” ASCAP licenses fees through 2015 for the Internet audio service, reports Bloomberg.

It seeks a blanket licensing fee, saying ASCAP and Pandora reached an “experimental” arrangement in 2005 that ran through 2010. Those terms were not disclosed.

Pandora has said it pays some 50% of its revenue towards licensing fees, which is not tenable; it’s also launched a vigorous lobbying effort on Capitol Hill in support of a bill to level the royalty playing field among all digital audio services.

ASCAP has not commented on the suit.


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