Pandora to discuss music licensing in public conference call

pandora logo crystalTomorrow, Pandora will discuss the eventful and controversial topic of music licensing in a public conference call with investors, the company announced. Company CFO Mike Herring will host and moderate. Herring is a veteran of quarterly earnings calls on behalf of the publicly-traded Pandora, and other investor meet-ups.

The call comes after webcasters filed their royalty-rate arguments to the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), and before that panel of judges begins its year-long decision-making process. Next December, the CRB will establish new music licensing rates for non-interactive online radio services (like Pandora, and also terrestrial webcasts) for the 2016-2020 period.

Pandora recently filed an elaborate brief with the CRB, a public version of which was broken out by RAIN News. Pandora proposed royalty rates to labels and artists lower than present rates, and about half the amount suggested by SoundExchange in its brief. Pandora’s argument is based on a free-market deal it forged with global label network Merlin, part of which involves “steering” Pandora playlists toward Merlin music in exchange for discounted royalty rates to the labels.

The cost of music is an important line item in Pandora’s profit-and-loss profile, and a key item of interest to investors whose firms cover P stock. We can expect Pandora to articulate its CRB case, promote lower royalties in principle, and field questions from investors.

To listen in at 2pmPT/5pmET, a live dial-in is available at (844) 856-8660 or (779) 232-4721 internationally.

Brad Hill