Pandora cuts songwriting rights deal with Sony/ATV

Internet radio service Pandora says it has reached a direct licensing deal for songwriting rights with Sony/ATV music publishing, the largest music publisher in the world.

The deal, which will see Pandora Media Inc. more to Sony/ATV to play the songs of artists like Bob Dylan, Lady Gaga and Pharrell Williams, eliminates some uncertainty over how much it would have to pay in the future. A review begun last summer by the Department of Justice into publishing rights societies ASCAP and BMI could have affected its bargaining power with publishers.

The move follows several steps Pandora has taken recently to make amends with the over contested rates it pays to play . Last month it settled a lawsuit over its use of pre-1972 recordings, agreeing to pay $90 million. It also dropped a plan to use a South Dakota radio station to lower its royalty payments, and agreed to retroactive pay to artists.

Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews said in a statement the deal marks a "significant milestone in our long-standing effort to strengthen ties with the music maker community."

Sony/ATV CEO Martin Bandier said the deal was "a major step in the right direction to ensure that our songwriters are fairly compensated" and said they would "enjoy the benefit of better rates."

Pandora shares rose 76 cents, or 6.5 percent, to $12.54 in afternoon trading Thursday.

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