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Pandora files suit against ASCAP

Action seeks more reasonable royalty terms

Continuing efforts to reduce its overall royalty payments, internet radio service Pandora has filed a suit against performing rights org ASCAP.

The action, filed Monday in a New York district court, seeks an agreement providing “reasonable fees and terms” for Pandora’s payments to the org through 2015. Disagreements between the two entities have been ongoing for some time, and Pandora has been paying an interim license fee to the org since last year.

At the heart of Panodra’s complaint is the agreement ASCAP reached for a blanket license with the Radio Music Licensing Committee in January. The license granted lower fees than those paid by Pandora to some of its competitors, including Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio platform.

“Pandora has been negotiating with ASCAP for over a year,” a Pandora spokesperson said. “ASCAP continues to seek rates higher than the current rates and above the agreement that they reached earlier this year with all of the major radio groups.”

ASCAP did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Pandora’s royalty rates have long been contentious, and this action comes just weeks after the company threw its support behind a bill dubbed the Internet Radio Fairness Act, which could lower the royalties it pays to performers.

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