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Pandora denied lower royalty rate to BMI after buying radio station

A federal judge has denied Pandora’s request to reverse an earlier rate-setting ruling, and allow Pandora to pay lower music royalties to BMI. The decision is a mile-marker along a twisting path that involves the market-leading Internet radio service (Pandora), both government-regulated PROs (BMI and ASCAP), and South Dakota radio station KXMZ. Continue Reading

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First hints drop of Justice Department’s consent decree decisions

The Department of Justice has been engaged in a review of consent decrees for more than a year. These rules govern the blanket licenses that performing rights organizations negotiate on behalf of music publishers. Billboard has a piece on the changes the department is reported to be considering, according to its unnamed sources. Continue Reading

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Songwriters’ guilds pen open letter decrying publishers’ attempts at ASCAP/BMI split

Several publishers have been vocal about their interest in splitting from the performing rights organizations ASCAP and BMI. Their goal is to exert more control over digital rights management, pushing for increased royalty rates from online streaming services for their songwriters. However, a group of professional organizations and guilds centered on songwriting has released an open letter to publishers asking them to reconsider. Continue Reading

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Pandora and BMI have court date to settle royalty rates

Pandora and BMI are scheduled to go to court tomorrow and hash out the legal issues surrounding the streaming company’s royalty payments to the performing rights organization. BMI is seeking 2.5% of Pandora’s revenue for royalties, up from the 1.75% that it currently pays. Pandora wants a rate of 1.7%, comparable to the rates paid by most terrestrial radio stations. Continue Reading

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Sony boss calls for better songwriter/publisher royalties from streaming

Martin Bandier, chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV, has added his voice to the criticism of rates paid to music publishers for streaming. “We at Sony/ATV want these digital music services to be successful because they are a great way for music fans to listen to music and have the potential to generate significant new revenues for everyone,” he said. “However, this success should not come at the expense of songwriters whose songs are essential for these services to exist and thrive.” Continue Reading