There’s been a lot of uncertainty around Pandora’s music catalogue in recent months, as publishers pulled out of the BMI organisation in the latest round of their dispute over rates. The theory: Pandora and services like it would be forced to strike direct deals with publishers, although in practice, the pullouts have opened a (sorry) Pandora’s box of issues around collective licensing in the US. In any case, Pandora has been forced into action: yesterday it emerged that the personal radio service signed a direct licensing agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group on 31 December. The public quotes make for a fascinating contrast. “Our deal with Pandora is another step toward reaching our goal of ensuring that there is a vibrant digital marketplace where both music services and the songwriters and composers who make those services possible can thrive,” said UMPG boss Zach Horowitz. And Pandora? “With only days to act before a January 1st deadline, we moved quickly to reach an agreement to keep their music playing on Pandora. This agreement should be viewed as a specific approach to address a short term-issue resulting from a legal decision.” This argument is far from over.