Federal Judge Raises Pandora's BMI Royalty Rate
May 15, 2015 at 3:54 AM (PT)
PANDORA, which won a case in a federal appeals court in MANHATTAN when it rejected appeals by ASCAP and music publishers that could have forced the webcaster to pay higher royalties and have access to fewer songs (NET NEWS 5/6), has lost one to BMI.
U.S. District Court Judge LOUIS L. STANTON ruled last night (5/14) for BMI, setting the rate at 2.5%. The full decision remains under seal, but the overall rate was disclosed by both parties.
THE NEW YORK TIMES reports, "BMI sued in 2013 to raise the rate that PANDORA, an Internet radio service, pays to play the millions of songs in the BMI catalog. PANDORA’s rate was set at 1.75% of its revenue; BMI asked the court to raise that to 2.5%, and PANDORA argued for a rate as low as 1.7%."
“Today’s decision is an enormous victory for the more than 650,000 songwriters, composers and publishers that BMI has the privilege to represent,” BMI said in a statement. “This is an important step forward in valuing music in the digital age.”
A PANDORA spokesman told THE TIMES that the company would appeal the BMI decision. “We strongly believe the benchmarks cited by the court do not provide an appropriate competitive foundation for a market rate.”