One of Pandora’s top lawyers in charge of dealing with record labels and rights societies has left the company. Chris Harrison, the vp of business affairs and assistant general counsel since late 2012, will be moving to one of Pandora’s competitors in the radio space, according to a new report.
“Chris has been a valued team member, and we appreciate his many important contributions,” the company said. “We have a very strong team in place, and are confident our music licensing activities won’t skip a beat as we move ahead.”
A source tells Fortune that Harrison is moving to satellite radio giant SiriusXM. Harrison’s Linkedin account still lists Pandora as his current employer and a message looking to confirm the move was not returned. Pandora declined a request for further comment.
Pandora has been embroiled in legal battles over royalty payments for years. In May, the company had mixed results in court fights with performance rights organisations (it prevailed with ASCAP but lost to BMI). That same month, the FCC dropped its objections to Pandora's acquisition of a small radio station in South Dakota, clearing the way for the Internet radio giant to potentially receive lower royalty rates for companies that own broadcast and digital radio services.
Recent financial disclosures show the company’s efforts to lower its royalty burden are working. Though listener growth has slowed, Pandora was able to increase revenue by 30 percent in the second quarter, to $285.6 million. Royalties accounted for 45.6 percent of revenue in the second quarter, an improvement from 50.9 percent a year earlier.