ASCAP to Pandora: “Not So Fast”

The online streamer Pandora has filed with the FCC to buy KXMZ, Box Elder/Rapid City, SD, in an acknowledged attempt to qualify for lower music performance royalty rates. Predictably, the record industry—in the form of ASCAP—has filed a Petition to Deny, saying, “Pandora is buying KXMZ for one reason—to argue that it is entitled to pay lower music performance royalties to composers, songwriters and lyricists for its billions of online-only internet music streams. In its rush to implement its scheme, Pandora has overlooked certain basic Commission requirements.” Those oversights? According to ASCAP, Pandora has failed to adequately demonstrate that it complies with the Commission’s foreign ownership rules. But Pandora’s greatest sin, according to ASCAP: “Pandora’s public statements lay bare its plot: to use KXMZ as a bargaining chip in Pandora’s quest to obtain lower royalty rates for its online music streams. Given these brazen proclamations, there can be no doubt Pandora’s interests do not lie in providing service to Box Elder and the greater Rapid City area.”