Pandora won’t have to increase the rates that it pays royalty collection body ASCAP just yet, after the latter lost its latest appeal in the court battle between the two. The US Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the current 1.85% of revenue rate is reasonable for the entirety of its five-year licensing period, which ends on 31 December 2015. ASCAP’s complaint had been based on Sony/ATV and Universal Music Publishing Group negotiating their own direct deals with Pandora at higher rates,
but has now seen its arguments rejected by two courts. Cue Pandora joy at a ruling “which highlights the anti-competitive harms that can result from a lack of transparency into music ownership” according to director of public affairs Dave Grimaldi. And cue ASCAP fury: “Powerful corporate interests, like Pandora, are determined to stand in the way of meaningful music licensing reform so that they may continue to shortchange songwriters,” said CEO Elizabeth Matthews. This is just one of a swathe of licensing disputes involving Pandora, with the wider issue of new rates beyond 2015 set to spark even more unrest in what’s already a pretty toxic atmosphere.