Pandora has won a battle with major publishers in the ASCAP rate court that will see the likes of Sony/ATV, Universal, BMG Chrysalis and Warner/Chappell licensed under the PRO’s blanket deal with the internet radio service until the end of 2015.
According to Billboard, a rate trial will take place at the end of the year to determine how much of Pandora's advertising revenue must be paid to ASCAP for its license.
Pandora filed a motion with the ASCAP rate court in June challenging the decision of certain publishers to withdraw certain digital rights from the performing rights organisation in a bid to strike direct licensing deals with services instead.
Universal, BMG Chrysalis and Warner/Chappell filed notice of withdrawing certain ‘New Media’ rights from ASCAP in June with a view to pulling out in July, while Sony/ATV withdrew digital rights in January.
Pandora moved to block the withdrawals and now a judge at the ASCAP rate court has ruled in the internet radio platform’s favour.
Under a consent decree that ASCAP operates under, a music user like Pandora can request a license from the PRO and play ASCAP songs under an interim license while royalty rights are negotiated.
“All means all," said the judge. "So whether ASCAP purports to categorize Pandora as an 'applicant' or a 'licensee,' Pandora’s right to perform the compositions in the ASCAP repertory extends to all of ASCAP’s repertory and ASCAP may not narrow that right by denying Pandora the right to play the songs of publishers who have withdrawn new media licensing rights from certain songs while keeping the songs in ASCAP’s repertory to be licensed for performance by other music users."
A rate trial has been set for December 4, which will determine what percentage of Pandora advertising revenue will be paid to ASCAP in exchange for its blanket license.