Pandora, Record Labels Settle Lawsuit Over Use of Pre-1972 Music

Major record labels and Pandora have agreed to a $90 million settlement over the use of recordings made before 1972.

The Recording Industry Assn. of America has been leading the labels’ litigation seeking royalties over the pre-1972 recordings, including a lawsuit filed against Pandora in a New York state court last year.

Federal copyright law wasn’t extended to master recordings until 1972, but the RIAA has cited common law or state statues in seeking royalty claims in state courts. The labels involved in the litigation include Capitol Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group.

The terms of the settlement, announced on Thursday, were confidential.

“Pandora is excited to have found resolution with these record labels,” Pandora CEO Brian McAndrew said in a statement. “Together we share a common objective to grow the music industry and support artists. We pursued this settlement in order to move the conversation forward and continue to foster a better, collaborative relationship with the labels.”

Cary Sherman, chairman and CEO of the RIAA, said, “Major settlements with SiriusXM and now Pandora means that an iconic generation of artists and the labels that supported them will be paid for the use of their creative works. That is a significant milestone and a big win for the music community. We appreciate the collaborative and constructive approach of Pandora’s team in resolving this longstanding issue for artists and labels.”

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