Aug 6 Pandora Media Inc has partnered with
a global rights agency representing thousands of independent
artists and bands, such as Arcade Fire, Wilco and Lenny Kravitz,
the online streaming music service said on Wednesday.
The partnership with London-based Merlin is the first for
Pandora, meaning it will now have a direct relationship with
more than 20,000 independent record labels and distributors that
represent about 10 percent of the worldwide music market.
Pandora licenses the rights to play recording artists
through SoundExchange in the United States, using a rate
established by the government.
The move is significant for Pandora, which has been in a
public battle with artists and musicians over its push on
Capitol Hill to change the regulation on how online streaming
music services pay royalties.
"Pandora is thrilled to be partnering with Merlin," Pandora
Chief Executive Officer Brian McAndrews said in an interview.
"We see tremendous opportunity to work more closely with artists
and the music community."
As part of the partnership, Pandora will give those artists
and labels access to data to its more than 75 million monthly
active users. That data can help artists and bands pinpoint
cities for tours, for example. Pandora will also offer
"This deal is hugely important opportunity enhance the
exposure of our members," said Merlin CEO Charles Caldas.
Both executives declined to reveal the terms of the
partnership, but Caldas said Merlin would only do a deal to
McAndrews said Pandora would continue to compensate Merlin
members through SoundExchange and that he did not expect the
partnership to have a major impact on costs.
Shares of Pandora were down 9 cents at $24.80 in trading
before the market opened.
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Lisa Von