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COPYRIGHT ROYALTY BOARD WEIGHS IN ON NEW RATE

Pandora and other Internet radio stations will pay a royalty rate of $.0017 per stream on free services beginning next year.

The Copyright Royalty Board made its Webcaster IV ruling late today (12/16), rejecting SoundExchange's request for a rate of $.0025. For the first time, the CRB said it will not be setting rates annually through 2020, instead tying the rates to the Consumer Price Index. Should inflation continue to run low, the rate per stream will not change.

"This is a balanced rate that we can work with and grow from. The new rate structure will enable continued investment by Pandora to drive forward a thriving and vibrant future for music," Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews said in a statement. "Working collaboratively with partners across the music industry is a top priority as we connect listeners with music they love, and artists with their audience."

Come Jan. 1, it will take about 588,250 streams of a song to get a $1,000 payday, an improvement over the previous rate.

The payment number is per stream for music owned by any artist or label that does not have a private agreement with Pandora, iHeartRadio, AccuRadio, Live365 stations, Radionomy and Shoutcast stations, webcasts of terrestrial radio and other online radio brands. It does not apply to on-demand platforms Spotify, Rhapsody, Tidal, Apple Music, YouTube Music and Deezer.

In Pandora's subscription section, the CRB set a per-stream rate of $0.0022. Pandora had been paying $0.0025 per stream in the subscription area under a Pureplay Agreement.

Pandora and SoundExchange were the key combatants during the argument phase of the rate-setting process. This year, Pandora has been paying $.0014 per stream; five years ago it was $.001.

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