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Westergren: "No indication" UK copyright society will offer rates allowing Pandora re-entry

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 11:25am

Tim Westergren, founder of PandoraWith the UK's streaming royalty rates set to expire in June, Pandora founder Tim Westergren tells paidContent: "We’ve seen no indication from PRS [For Music (the UK copyright collection society)] that it is prepared to offer economically viable rates for services like Pandora."

He continues, "The current rate demanded by PRS of 0.065 pence per listener per track equates to 47% of the revenue Pandora achieved on a per listener per track basis in the year we just completed, during which we generated $274 million in revenue and were the clear leader in monetizing internet radio."

Pandora closed its service to UK users in 2008. Westergren said then: "Both the PPL (which represents the record labels) and the MCPS/PRS Alliance (which represents music publishers) have demanded per track performance minima rates which are far too high to allow ad supported radio to operate" (RAIN coverage here).

Currently Pandora is only available to U.S. users.

Westergren argues that Pandora's absence from the UK market hurts artists and consumers. He cites recent Rajar figures that time spent listening to web radio in the UK was 35 million in Q4. "By contrast, Pandora alone streamed 975 million hours in the U.S. in just the most recent month," or roughly 32.5 million hours per day.

paidContentThe current UK streaming rates expire in June and will be reviewed after "informal discussions" between web services and PRS For Music, paidContent reports.

"But, unlike in 2009, when Last.fm and others joined the throngs of services demanding cheaper rates from the royalty agency, so far Westergren’s sounds like the only voice speaking up so loud for a further downward revision," writes paidContent.

You can find paidContent's coverage here.

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