7/3/13: Pandora secures direct publishing deal as it asks court to disallow such deals

Paul Maloney
July 3, 2013 - 10:35am

Even while Pandora sues to prevent large music publishing groups from withdrawing from its requested deal with ASCAP, the webcaster has gone ahead and secured a direct deal with Universal Music Publishing Group.

The deal is reportedly based on "the highest rate the Internet webcaster has ever paid to the music publishing sector," reports Billboard.

"Sources speculate that UMPG and the other large publishers seeking direct deals may have benefitted by the 10% rate that publishers will get from Apple’s iTunes Radio service," the news source reports.

[The licensing in question for this story is for the use of copyright song compositions, administered by publishers often grouped in "performance rights organizations" like ASCAP and BMI. This story does not involve sound recording copyrights.]

After Pandora and ASCAP began negotiating terms for a renewal license, several large publishers announced they'd withdraw "digital use" rights from ASCAP, in order to secure more lucrative "direct deals." The webcaster says the publishers have to stay in the ASCAP blanket and are still operating under the "consent decree," and are asking a court to compel them to do so. The court is expected to have a decision later this month.

"In cutting a deal with UMPG, Pandora has averted potential liability for its use of the publisher’s catalog," Billboard explains. "If it hadn’t reached and agreement and the ASCAP rate court judge ruled against Pandora on the consent decree motion, the service as of July 1 would have been in violation of copyright."

Read more in Billboard here.

Paul Maloney
July 3, 2013 - 10:35am

Radio is far-and-away the preferred device for audio consumption among UK adults who are also Internet users. That's anything but true for the 15-19 age cohort however.

A May 2013 study from Audiometrics indicates 35% of UK Internet users overall chose radio as their favorite platform for "listening to audio." That's more than twice the second-favorite, "computer/laptop" (16%).

Yet merely 3% of teens picked radio as their favorite. Smartphone/mobile phone (36%) and iPod/MP3 player (35%) were the big winners with teens.

Note that there's nothing in this report about actual content -- and it's likely that a good number of these teens who seem to be abandoning radio as a device may still avidly consume streaming content from local or national broadcasters.

EMarketer estimates "81% of (UK) teen mobile phone users (ages 12 to 17) will use a smartphone this year, and that percentage will rise to 96% by 2017."

Read more in eMarketer here.