Pandora Keeps Royalty Rate

A federal rate court judge in New York has delivered a blow to songwriters by leaving intact at 1.85 percent the rate that Pandora must pay in royalties from revenue for the next two years.

ASCAP, which collects royalties for some 500,000 American artists and publishers, challenged the rate paid by the Internet radio giant and said the decision demonstrates the need for regulatory reform.

The performance rights organization sought a retroactive rate increase to 2.5 percent for 2013 and a boost to 3 percent in 2014 and 2015.

Pandora, which bought a radio station in South Dakota to qualify for the terrestrial radio rate of 1.7 percent, thought it deserved a rate cut.

Pandora has been paying 1.85 percent of revenue to ASCAP since 2011 on an interim basis.

It recently announced it streamed 1.51 billion hours of music to listeners in February, up 9 percent from the year prior.

Pandora’s share of U.S. radio listening rose to 8.91 percent, up from 8.25 percent 2012, and had 75.3 million active listeners.