Publisher Sony/ATV has already signalled its willingness to withdraw from collecting societies BMI and ASCAP in order to negotiate deals directly with digital music services like Pandora. An attempt to partially withdraw has already been stymied by the courts, although Sony/ATV may yet appeal the ruling. But the New York Post claimed this week that if nothing changes on that front, then Sony/ATV could be entirely out of BMI and ASCAP by the end of the year. The Post’s sources suggest that the company is planning a “much leaner operation” to replace the collecting societies “saving tens of millions a year” with some of those savings able to be passed on to songwriters. While Sony/ATV has stressed that suggestions it has firmly decided to withdraw “would be very premature”, if it does, the stage may be set for rival Universal Music Publishing Group to do the same. 2015 could be a bruising year in licensing negotiations for Pandora and others.

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