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PANDORA'S NEXT THING, REVISED

Pandora’s imminent paid offering, according to insiders familiar with the deals trumpeted today, will NOT be an on-demand service a la Spotify—which some believe may not roll out until next year—but a “Revised Radio” service. With enhanced features, playlist-like radio elements and no ads, it will indeed go for about five clams a month. 

The advances being tendered by Pandora and fellow tech behemoth Amazon as they enter the race are said to be historically huge.

It's presumed that royalties for the enhanced radio will continue to be paid through SoundExchange at the current statutory rate (.0017 per transmission for non-subscription, .0022 for subscription, subject to increase starting next year). Some suggest a slightly lower rate may be negotiated for the mid-tier service.

Meanwhile, with 125m quarterly and nearly 80m monthly active users, Pandora remains the biggest online music source; with 5m paying for its ad-free service already, it will likely enter the on-demand fray (with a free tier) in the #3 position behind Spotify and Apple.

Will its user base and brand recognition make Pandora a target for acquisition by one of the dominant tech firms? 

Will a deal with WMG be finalized in time for the rumored Thursday launch of the service? Sources on both sides of the table say an accord is close but differ on the timing; whether the final details are hammered out in time for the launch remains to be seen.

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