Pandora strikes direct US licensing deal with Sony/ATV

In a landmark agreement for the music publishing business, Pandora has agreed a direct multi-year licensing deal with Sony/ATV in the US.

The deal means that Pandora has effectively bypassed the standard US compulsory licensing process – and its custodians, collection societies ASCAP and BMI – to gain access to Sony/ATV’s repertoire.

As a result, Sony/ATV says it has been able to negotiate improved rates for its 4 million copyrights directly, while Pandora says it will ‘benefit from a greater rate certainty and the ability to add new flexibility to the company’s product offering over time’.

A similar direct agreement was reached by Pandora with BMG last year, while recorded music collective rep Merlin has also agreed a direct deal with the platform.

Sony/ATV has previously agreed direct digital licensing agreements in Europe with the likes of Spotify, but was previously reliant on ASCAP and BMI in the US market for such deals.

“We believe that this agreement with Pandora is a major step in the right direction to ensure that our songwriters are fairly compensated for the use of their music on streaming services,” said Martin Bandier, Sony/ATV Chairman and CEO.

“Our songwriters will begin to enjoy the benefit of better rates on one of the most important platforms for music consumption.”

Martin Bandier, Sony/ATV

“We are pleased that our songwriters will begin to enjoy the benefit of better rates on one of the most important platforms for music consumption and discovery. It is part of our ongoing strategy to ensure that all digital music services recognize the indispensable value that the words and music of a song bring to their businesses.”

Added Brian McAndrews, chief executive officer of Pandora. ““This is a significant milestone in our long-standing effort to strengthen ties with the music maker community.

“Over 10 years, Pandora has built music’s most powerful marketing engine, which we put into action every day for Sony/ATV’s storied catalog.

“By partnering directly with Sony/ATV, we are proud to lock in our opportunity to connect an incredibly talented community of songwriters with streaming music’s largest and most passionate audience.”

The public performance royalties Pandora also pays to rights holders of master recordings are not affected by the agreement.

Sony/ATV represents the copyrights of artists as The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Carole King, Kraftwerk, Joni Mitchell, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Richie Sambora, Sting, The Supremes, Wyclef Jean, Hank Williams, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Kanye West.Music Business Worldwide

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