Business News Deals Digital Labels & Publishers

Pandora signs with Songs Publishing for third direct licensing deal

By | Published on Wednesday 9 December 2015


Songs Publishing has announced a direct licensing deal with Pandora. This is the third direct deal the US streaming service has struck up with a publisher, it having previously licensed all song rights via the collective licensing system. Previous direct deals were with Sony/ATV last month and BMG last year.

“Now is the time to move past the over-regulation of songwriter rights and towards a market-based approach to streaming music”, says Songs CEO Matt Pincus, announcing the new deal. “This agreement is a big step forward in a long conversation about fair and equitable compensation for all songwriters and publishers. I value Pandora’s commitment to treating all songwriters and publishers equally and look forward to a new chapter with them”.

Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews adds: “Pandora has a long-standing commitment to independent songwriters. This agreement with Songs underscores that commitment and demonstrates our shared belief that all publishers and songwriters should receive equal treatment. Pandora is a leader in the space and we continue to improve value to music publishers and songwriters – a positive step for the entire industry”.

I’m sad he didn’t mention Songs’ “storied catalogue”, like he did with the last two direct deals the streaming service did. Makes a mockery of his claims to treat the big guys and the independents equally, doesn’t it? Also, specific details of these deals are confidential, so we can’t even check if what he says it true beyond comparing quotes.

This, like those other direct deals, pre-empts the conclusion of the US Department Of Justice’s review of the consent decrees that govern how US collecting societies BMI and ASCAP work. It is expected that amendments will allow publishers to partially withdraw from the two societies, ie only with digital, forcing streaming services into direct deals, where royalties are not ultimately set by the rate courts that oversee collective licensing.

Such direct deals are already an option if the digital service chooses to go that route, for whatever reason, hence how this deal with Songs, and those with BMG and Sony/ATV, were able to be done.