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Pandora’s box slammed shut

Online radio service Pandora has been forced to stop its service to UK users after it failed to agree rates with British licensing authorities. In May last year the company cut off all other non-US users, but had hoped to negotiate a deal in the UK.

Pandora builds (or rather built) a radio station for each user based on their music tastes. Founder Tim Westergren said the company was “very, very sorry” about having to cut off the service, but that they hadn’t been able to negotiate an “economically workable licence fee”.

Economically workable for who? We’ve been going down the “everything free online” route for so long now that it seems natural, but the writers’ strike in the US over DVD payments has made us think again.

It must be a tricky one for musicians: agree a rock-bottom licensing rate with Pandora and you’ll at least get some income from digital broadcasts. On the other hand, why should a normal radio station keep paying its current licensing costs if Pandora’s getting it on the cheap? Interesting times at the digital copyright frontline…

(Image: from aloshbennett’s flickr stream)

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