When the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) issued its new statutory rate structure for Internet radio broadcasters last year, one of the leading voices opposing the new system was Pandora founder Tim Westergren. The issue has faded from the forefront in the last few months, but in that time Pandora has continued its efforts to negotiate a compromise, as well as strike new partnership deals to expand distribution of the personalized DJ service-the latest with Clear Channel Radio. Billboard checks in with Westergren on where both efforts stand.
What are you doing with Clear Channel and why?
It’s a trial that we’ll be running on some of their Web sites this summer, where they’ll be offering personalized Pandora playlists. Companies like us are always wise to look at new distribution partners. If we can get Pandora in front of more people, that’s nothing but good. I would be surprised if Pandora’s future doesn’t have a fair number of distribution partners like this.
CBS Radio is offering a similar personalized DJ service. Any concern about terrestrial radio companies offering more interactive features on their Web sites?
All the terrestrial broadcasters are very actively beginning to implement or planning online extensions. That’s all competition for listeners. We pay attention to that and need to react to it. The Clear Channel implementation is run by them-they pay the licensing, they handle the economics of it. The only reason it works is because it’s not their main business-they don’t pay royalties on over 90% of what they broadcast. So all this leads to a discussion of royalty payments.
Click here for the full article, including the latest news on negotiations concerning the CRB royalty rates, insight into Pandora’s financial standing and more.