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QUICK HITS: Merlin and Pandora execs speak out

Merlin CEO criticizes label deals: In a conversation with Janko Roettgers of GigaOm, Charles Caldas, head of prominent indie-label consortium Merlin, points to a basic aspect of business modeling behind Spotify, iTunes Radio, and other major players. The advance payments to major labels, Caldas warns, sets up an unsustainable situation for small labels that are excluded from broad dealmaking. Caldas expands his thinking beyond Merlin’s constituency; he thinks music services are being set up by for failure by the labels.

Pandora CFO holds forth: In a CNET interview, Pandora CFO Mike Herring delivers crisp C-level talking points about Pandora’s business and ongoing royalty controversies. No breakthrough knowledge to be gleaned, but the interview provides a concise summary of Pandora stance. On royalties: “It’s not about lowering rates — that’s about creating fair rates across lots of distribution channels.” On Apple’s launch of iTunes Radio related to the cost of doing business in the streaming space: “It took someone, frankly, with a lot of cash in the bank and a big income statement like Apple to finally launch a competing service.” 

Brad Hill

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