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This is a blog post I hoped I would never have to write.
As you probably know, in July of 2007 we had to block usage of Pandora outside the U.S. because of the lack of a viable license structure for internet radio streaming in other countries. It was a terrible day. We did however hold out some hope that a solution might exist for the UK, so we left it unblocked as we worked diligently with the rights organizations to negotiate an economically workable license fee. After over a year of trying, this has proved impossible. Both the PPL (which represents the major record labels and some independent record labels) and the MCPS/PRS Alliance (which represents music publishers) have demanded per track performance minima rates which are far too high to allow ad supported radio to operate and so, hugely disappointing and depressing to us as it is, we have to block the last territory outside of the US.
It continues to astound us that the industry is not working more constructively to support the growth of services that introduce listeners to new music, and that are totally supportive of paying fair royalties to the creators of music. I don’t often say such things, but the course being charted by the labels and publishers and their representative organizations is nothing short of disastrous for artists whom they purport to represent…


The only consequence of failing to support companies like Pandora that are attempting to build a sustainable radio business for the future will be the continued explosion of piracy, the continued constriction of opportunities for working musicians, and a worsening drought of new music for fans. As a former working musician myself, I find it very troubling.
We have been told to sign these totally unworkable license rates or switch off, non-negotiable…so that is what we are doing. Streaming illegally is just not in our DNA, and we have to take the threats of legal action seriously.
We know what an epicenter of musical creativity and fan support the UK has always been, which makes the prospect of not being able to launch there and having to block our first listeners all the more upsetting for us.
If you would like to be kept abreast of the situation, please drop us your email so we can stay in touch – there’s a simple way to do that on the home webpage you’re now presented with if you try to access Pandora from the UK. There may well come a day when we need to make a direct appeal for your support to move for governmental intervention as we have in the US. In the meantime we have no choice but to turn off service to the UK.
Since we emailed UK listeners last week to inform them of this impending change, we have been inundated with public and industry support. There have also been many questions – we’ll be very proactive in responding to any comments/questions that pop up on the blog here. There is a lot of confusion around this topic.
Pandora will stop streaming to the UK as of January 15th, 2008.
Again, on behalf of myself and everyone at Pandora, to any resident of Wales, Ireland, England and Scotland that reads this post, I’m very, very sorry.
Tim (Founder)

Comments

  1. Graham English
    January 15, 2008 at 9:40pm
    Really sorry to hear that. Very sad. But temporary for sure.
  2. DP
    January 15, 2008 at 10:43pm
    Back to piracy for me!
  3. proctortech
    January 15, 2008 at 10:49pm
    "the course being charted by the labels and publishers and their representative organizations is nothing short of disastrous for artists whom they purport to represent" I couldn't agree with you more Tim. The industry will eventually come around, but its a painful transition, and I'm sorry Pandora has to lose fans to endure it.
  4. Nick
    January 16, 2008 at 2:10am
    If someone who is better at words than me could compose a message to PPL explaining the error of their ways, then post it on here in the hope that 1000s of people copy it and email it, I wonder if they'd be forced to see reason? I'm emailing info@ppluk.com anyway, I can only hope...
  5. Vince Sneed
    January 16, 2008 at 2:22am
    Dear Pandora, thankyou for your service, it has been really great to listen to new artists whom I would not have heard of otherwise. I understand that you need to operate ethically. Sometimes we have to go into the dark so that the lights burn brighter. I shall miss listening to my favourite music. Where would the music industry be without listeners? I hope that there is a swift resolution to the UK licensing situation, but I also understand that greed hides behind legistlation and it will be a difficult struggle. cheers vince
  6. Freddie Dodson
    January 16, 2008 at 2:45am
    I only found out about Pandora radion station briefy before you stopped streaming it in the u.k. I admire what you have done and being the type of person who loves finding and listening to new (and often random) mucsic it was a dream website which I could spend hours on. I can only hope that a solution is made in the not too distant future. Freddie P.S. Just out of interest about how many people were using it/signed up in the u.k.? I know that none of friends new about but if they did they would all have loved it to. Would it be possible to link up with someone like Apple's iTunes Store or create your own library from which people can buy song's from, like itunes' Store?
  7. TE
    January 16, 2008 at 3:37am
    Time and time again, I am amazed on the demands of copyright owners, demanding a "fair" share of pie which does not translate into a sustainable model. My question, however, is... why are we paying such great homage to these companies? Why not, screw these people and create a direct platform with musicians who are willing and able to let go OR take a fair share. I am sure there are plenty of good quality material around. Shift the power back to the people and please do not make victims out of us... especially the global loyal Pandora fans! A Victim
  8. Francis Osborn
    January 16, 2008 at 5:00am
    Anyone else seeing this from the UK, I would recommend that to convey yourselves to this petition to Downing Street. http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/SaveNetRadioUK/ I am not naive enough to suggest that the government will change policy in response to it (given their past record, and the depressing lack of precedent), however any registered opposition is a very good thing as it can give the bodies which oppose the law a proof of popular support.
  9. Mike
    January 16, 2008 at 5:19am
    Very disappointed. I haven't stopped raving about Pandora since I was told about it this year. Hope you return soon.
  10. deathofgod
    January 16, 2008 at 5:59am
    Pandora is really GREATTTT I am a international user,i would like to ask a question about globalpandora. Why it disappears suddenly?

Comments are closed.