Might Pandora Finally Come to Canada?

Pandora, the predictive streaming music service that predates all the current services, hasn’t been in Canada for years because the company didn’t want to pay the high fees demanded by the Powers-That-Be in this country. But are they having a change of heart? This appeared in Bloomberg.

Pandora Media Inc., hurt by competition and slowing domestic growth, is laying the groundwork for the international expansion of its online radio service by seeking rights to play songs outside the U.S., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The company has approached rights holders about obtaining international access to music catalogs, with the U.K. an important early target, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are preliminary.

International expansion has been a long-term goal of Pandora. Crucial to gaining the rights is settling disputes with the industry at home, since big record companies like Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group hold the key to those wider ambitions. Last month, Pandora shares suffered their worst one-day drop ever amid the cost of legal settlements and signs the Oakland, California-based company is losing ground to rivals like Spotify Ltd. and Apple Inc.

Pandora has angered the music industry by relying on government bodies to set rates. Music publishers, who represent songwriters, in particular have complained about low royalty rates for their artists. Conflict with the industry has hampered the company’s ability to develop new features in the U.S. and expand internationally.
Interesting. The question is, though, will Canadians care if Pandora comes here?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “Might Pandora Finally Come to Canada?

  • November 10, 2015 at 9:40 am
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    Actually, back in 2006 when I was at CBC we had long protracted talks about “franchising” Pandora into Canada. We got there first but Bell was also sniffing around. Things were looking good until Pandora ran into some challenges in the US with the Millennial Copyright Act. At that point they decided that any foreign expansion was off and they went through a bit of a rough spell. Things changed with the launch of the iPhone and the rest is history.

    Reply
  • November 10, 2015 at 12:25 pm
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    I had and used Pandora before they closed the site to Canadians and I loved it. I found a lot of bands that I never would have heard of, subsequently buying a lot of music and going to see those artists when they came to Toronto.
    It would be great to have it back again, but if it does come back will it be the same offering? Or a pay for service, or wall to wall ads?

    Reply

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