Pandora’s FM Radio Station Gets FCC Approval

pandora-logoRadio listeners can now hear Pandora’s music on the FM radio dial, according to Billboard.

Pandora purchased Rapid City, S.D. radio station KXMZ for $600,000 in 2013, and has been given the green light by the FCC for broadcast approval.

The radio station purchase is part of Pandora’s initiative to take advantage of ASCAP’s lower royalty rates offered to companies which own broadcast radio stations as well as the digital radio services those broadcasters operate. ASCAP’s settlement with the Radio Music Licensing Committee (RMLC) has set a blanket license fee of 1.7 percent of gross revenue, minus standard deductions. Pandora currently pays ASCAP 1.85 percent of revenue.

“Pandora is radio, and the acquisition of KXMZ would qualify Pandora for the same RMLC license under the same terms as our competitors,” Pandora’s director of public affairs Dave Grimaldi said in a statement. “This move makes sense to us beyond the licensing parity alone,” going on to say the company was excited to work with the local community in Grand Rapids.

BMI is currently awaiting a decision on recent arguments delivered in Manhattan court that will set rates for that PRO.

National Music Publishers’ Association President and CEO David Israelite responded to the FCC approval, saying, “In the history of the struggle between creators and those who try to profit off of their work without paying them fairly, this move by Pandora ranks as the most cynical and shameless. Sadly this small station in South Dakota has become a pawn in Pandora’s game to pay the creators on which it built its business even less. Now, there can be no doubt that Pandora has declared war on songwriters.”

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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at jnicholson@musicrow.com.

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