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Pandora Deals With BMI, ASCAP; Drops Challenge

Online music service Pandora has signed separate, multiyear licensing deals with ASCAP and BMI for more than 20 million musical works in their combined catalogs.

As part of the deal, Pandora has agreed to drop its appeal of a May 2015 rate court decision, which provided BMI with 2.5% of Pandora's revenue for its catalog--up from 1.75% (retroactive from Jan. 1, 2013 until the new agreement takes effect in 2016. ASCAP got 1.85% in its rate court decision.

BMI and ASCAP had no comment on the deal, but a source on background said bother were higher.

“This agreement is good news for music fans and music creators, who are the heart and soul of ASCAP, and a sign of progress in our ongoing push for improved streaming payments for songwriters, composers and music publishers that reflect the immense value of our members’ creative contributions,” said ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews in a statement.

Just last week, the Copyright Royalty Board set new audio streaming rates of 17 cents per 100 songs for commercial nonsubscription services (radio most notably), a hike from the 14 cents it had been paying before that (http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/washington/broadcasters-get-price-break-streaming-audio/146471).

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.