With songwriter royalties such a talking point at the Grammys, what better time for a high-profile court battle over Pandora’s payments to licensing agency BMI? Pandora might not agree, of course. The trial starts tomorrow (Tuesday 10 February) and is expected to focus on similar issues to Pandora’s battle with ASCAP last year.
Pandora wants to lower its BMI royalty rate from 1.75% to 1.7%, notes the New York Times, while BMI wants to raise it to 2.5%. Both sides will be wielding other licensing deals from 2014 as evidence in their favour, with ASCAP’s appeal against the decision in its case set to kick off next month. “The difference between what the two sides are proposing may be minuscule, and indeed dwarfed by the costs of paying for nearly two years of litigation,” notes the piece. “But music executives say that the intensity of the fight underscores the importance of every percentage point in royalties as overall media consumption shifts online.”