Internet radio giant Pandora has reached two milestones this month: Two weeks ago the company celebrated its tenth anniversary, a rarity for a music streaming service that has outlasted many of its peers. And today (Sep. 23), the company announced it has paid out over $1.5 billion to rights holders and creators since it launched ten years ago.
CEO Brian McAndrews pointed to “significant momentum” in the press release announcing the milestone (he also disclosed the milestone in a Billboard op-ed published Wednesday morning). Pandora announced it reached to $1 billion mark on its October 23 earnings call for the third quarter of 2014. That means the last $500 million in royalties were paid out in about a year.
To puts Pandora’s royalties in perspective, all U.S. subscription services paid out about $540 million to record labels in the 12-month period ending June 30, according to U.S. revenue figures provided by the RIAA. Pandora alone has paid about $460 million to artists and record labels over the last year or so, according to Billboard’s estimates (Pandora operates in Australia and New Zealand but nearly all streaming activity comes from the United States). The two sides are nearly even, although the balance of power could shift once Apple Music’s impact if felt.