Music recommendation service Pandora says it is set to block UK users from 15th January as it is unable to afford new royalty rates.

The firm says that royalty collection agencies PPL and the MCPS/PRS alliance have demanded excessive fees.

Founder Tim Westergren emailed Pandora's UK listeners to explain that the move had rendered its non-subscription, ad-supported model unworkable.

He said:

"We have been told to sign these totally unworkable license rates or switch off, that is what we are doing."

"Lest you think this is solely an international problem, you should know that we are also fighting for our survival here in the US, in the face of a crushing increase in web radio royalty rates, which if left unchanged, would mean the end of Pandora."

Pandora, as with other web radio services, has been struggling to survive after the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) decided to raise royalty fees for internet broadcasters.

Under the RIAA's scheme, they are forced to pay a flat fee per song, with the charges rising every year up to 2010.

Pandora closed all of its non-US operations after the fee hike, but was hoping to keep the service alive in the UK.

This may spell the end of many free, ad-supported internet radio services, as many will be forced to either introduce subscription charges or cease trading if the recording industry continues to insist on higher royalty rates.

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Graham Charlton

Published 8 January, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is editor in chief at SaleCycle, and former editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (5)


Chris Thornett

Yes, after looking at the Joint Online Licence T&Cs that deal with music webcasters they do appear to be heavily weighted the terms against an ad-supported model.

If Pandora went subscription-supported, it would pay 6.5% of gross revenue and (assuming my translation of 'legalise' is correct) £0.22p per subscriber per month.

That's a lot less than £0.00085p per song, per user, since having a userbase of 1,000 play one song would equal £0.85p in less than 4 minutes. Pandora has a userbase of over 10 million. Tim's own estimates based on what the MCPS-PRS were demanding was going to be around 45% of the UK operation's gross revenue. Completely absurd!

Personally, I feel this has to be some kind of a joke or possibly a clerical error, as the MCPS-PRS is about to lose a huge pile of cash per year for its clients.

over 10 years ago


Juliana Akor, Marketing Manager at Institute of Chartered Accountants

Such a shame - I'm a huge, huge Pandora fan. I've spent a lot of money
seeing bands and buying music I've discovered through Pandora, music I doubt I would have discovered elsewhere. Surely the music industry should be encouraging such stations as an extension of their marketing campaigns?

over 10 years ago


Jay Bishop

I totatally agree with the other Jay, I too have bought a lot of music that I have found on Pandora. I'm going to complain to the MCPS-PRS and ask them to re-think their stratergy. If you want to do the same you can at:

over 10 years ago



hey my name is don and today i found PANDORA RADIO to be closed because certain governing bodies put the royalty rates through the roof and they had to close the station to all users outside the US. why is there always someone who has to ruin it for millions of people cos there "not getting enough money?" Well i love PANDORA RADIO and have come come up with a temporary solution until this all gets resolved, theres probably an easier way but its the only one i could think of as im quite stupid when it comes to technology! rockin, here goes!
the thing that blocks you is your brittish / european ip address. so what you have to do is not connect directly but "bounce" of an american server. doing this is easy(although took me ages to figure out and ive only done this using firefox!).
STEP ONE: the thing you want to change is your PROXY NUMBER and PORT number. these settings are easily changed back and wont screw up your inet.
write down these numbers and the port number 80.
STEP TWO: on the bar at the top of your screen goto TOOLS then OPTIONS. select ADVANCED then NETWORK and then click on SETTINGS. ok, a new window will pop up and this is where we change the settings!
STEP THREE: click MANUAL PROXY CONFIGURATION then in the box that says HTTP PROXY type in the ten digit number i gave you(including the dots) then in the next box that says PORT type in the two digit number. tick the box that says USE FOR ALL PROTOCOLS and then just OK the windows.
STEP FOUR: restart firefox and you are now surfing from an american server!
STEP FIVE?: go listen to pandora radio!

none of this will mess up any accounts you have with any sites but your inet may run a wee bit slower but not enough to make a difference!
if you want to change it back to how it was before tho its easy. just repeat steps ONE and TWO and when you get to step THREE just delete the numbers and click on DIRECT CONNECTION TO THE INTERNET. piece of piss!

if anyone has a more effective way of doing this please get in touch! thankyou so much and hope you enjoy this amazing station! nothin but the rock, DON.

over 10 years ago



i have made a related and quite useful post for anyone who still wants to use pandora outside the US. im not computer literate really and i would appreciate the support for my group. please join it (its on face book) and contribute advice and pass it around. i think its so wrong what the station has been forced to do. if the music industry hadnt spent all its time ripping of the public it may have found some loyalty in its consumers, the fact that theyre taking a hit is nothing to do with stations like pandora and once again theyre trying to unfairly control the markets. to all major record labels around the world, your time has come and its your fault. try giving something back to the people youve taken from for so long. here is the link to the group

thankyou to all who help. Don

over 10 years ago

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