Pandora settles with music labels on old songs (Update)

October 22, 2015

Internet radio leader Pandora on Thursday announced a $90 million settlement with music labels for playing songs dating before US copyright law took shape in 1972.

The deal follows a similar settlement by satellite radio provider Sirius XM, which agreed in June to pay $210 million over pre-1972 songs.

Cary Sherman, chairman of the Recording Industry Association of America, called the latest deal "a significant milestone and a big win for the music community."

"Major settlements with Sirius XM 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," he said in a statement.

US federal law protecting copyright only applies to music recorded on or after February 15, 1972.

Individual US states have their own copyright protections, but Pandora and Sirius XM—without the fixed addresses and reach of traditional radio stations—had argued that they were exempt.

Pandora said it was reaching the settlement, whose details were not disclosed, with labels including the three major conglomerates—Sony, Universal and Warner.

Brian McAndrews, CEO of Pandora, said in the statement that the Internet radio station wanted a "better, collaborative relationship" with the labels.

"Together we share a common objective to grow the music industry and support artists," he said.

Sirius XM and Pandora came in the crosshairs of legal action after a California judge last year agreed that state law protected pre-1972 copyright for songs.

The judge's ruling came as part of a campaign for past compensation led by members of The Turtles, the band best known for the 1967 hit "Happy Together."

Explore further: Record labels sue Pandora over older songs

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