Music Business Roundup: BMI Wins Against Pandora, Freemium Battle, & More

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Each week on Songwriter U, Songspace recaps the top stories in the world of music business. Here’s everything you need to know from the week ending on May 15th.

BMI Wins Over Pandora In Rate Court
A judge has ruled that Pandora must pay a rate of 2.5% for performance royalties – a 43% increase over the 1.75% it had been paying up until now. This is an important ruling, as it helps songwriters and publishers get more royalties for streams on the popular radio site. Pandora will likely appeal the decision as they did when faced with a similar claim by ASCAP.
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The Freemium Battle Between UMG & Spotify
The largest label group, Universal Music Group, is reportedly under negotiations with Spotify in regards to their free model. UMG has been vocally against a freemium service (and is said to consider an option of 3 months free before committing to a subscription), while Spotify has been a big proponent of it, saying it helps convert users. They have to reach an agreement relatively soon, as UMG’s Spotify licenses are up this summer.
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Rdio Announces Tiered Services
Rdio Select launched this week as a lower priced alternative to other streaming services. It is mainly a radio streaming option, but also allows the user to cache 25 songs per day for the $3.99 a month plan. The market is already moving fast towards the access model versus ownership, so this was an expected launch to capture an audience that doesn’t want to pay much to access music.
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Apple Music Rumors Continue
The tech giant is gearing up for the anticipated June release of their music streaming service. Rumors have been circulating that it will be called Apple Music, with a $9.99 price point and more artist integrated social options. However, there are also speculations that all of the deals with major labels have not yet been completed, which could delay the big launch.
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ASCAP Urges Congress to #StandWithSongwriters
Earlier this week ASCAP was in Washington D.C. to take part of their annual “Songwriter Advocacy Day.” The aim was to meet with members of Congress to discuss current issues facing songwriters and musicians, using #StandWithSongwriters as part of their promotion.
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