Just 10 Days After Winning His CEO Job Back, Pandora’s Founder Announces a Major Transparency Deal


Today, Pandora announced a partnership with Music Reports, promising 100% reporting transparency…

Music Reports will manage the mechanical licensing and royalty administration for Pandora’s upcoming streaming service.  With this, Pandora is hoping that this new level of openness for publishers and music makers will set them apart from its competitors.

The move closely follows the reinstallation of Pandora founder Tim Westergren as CEO following an earlier shake-up.  The major move, triggered within ten days of his announced return, signals a big commitment back towards royalty accounting and transparency.  ‘‘As we expand the listening experience on Pandora, it’s important that we continue to ensure music makers are not only accurately and fairly compensated, but also have more control and greater transparency around the use of their art,” Westergren stated.  “That’s why Music Reports opt-in licensing and full reporting infrastructure is so important.’’

The move will hopefully expand licensing to a greater number of publishers, simply because they’ll know who to contact (more on that later).  “Pandora and Music Reports share a commitment to comprehensive licensing solutions so that royalties properly flow to publishers and songwriters,” noted Bill Colitre, Vice President and General Counsel of Music Reports.  “Music Reports is in a unique position to reach every active publisher in the market, ensuring Pandora can offer them all the opportunity to participate in these new services, on the same terms.  This is another huge step forward for music licensing in the United States.”

Pandora has become one of the most established streaming services, though it hasn’t quite got the reach or following of other streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, or Soundcloud.  That’s most likely due to the fact that it’s not on-demand.  But, what Pandora does have is a major focus on artists; indeed, this is a company that prides itself on empowering artists with valuable data and tools to help grow their careers and connect with their fans.

Meanwhile, the smoke is still clearing in the executive suite: there’s been the exit of CEO Brian McAndrews, the reinstating of the founder and CEO Westergren, and a larger executive shake-up sprinkled on top of a mini rebellion by investors.  The company is also struggling through disappointing financial results, speculation of a possible sale, and the expensive expansion with the recent inclusion of Ticketfly (cost $450 million) and the purchase of assets in Rdio ($75 million and counting).

Perhaps royalty payouts and accounting, including somewhat bloated payouts via SoundExchange on the recording side, could be the next major focus.

Image: [email protected] (public domain).

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