Pandora to Stop Streaming To The UK on January 15th

January 12, 2008

While cleaning out my hotmail inbox, which I very rarely use, I found this old email. It’s a great shame as I do enjoy my Pandora streams.

“hi, it’s Tim,

This is an email I hoped I would never have to send

As you probably know, in July of 2007 we had to block usage of Pandora outside the U.S. because of the lack of a viable license structure for Internet radio streaming in other countries. It was a terrible day. We did however hold out some hope that a solution might exist for the UK, so we left it unblocked as we worked diligently with the rights organizations to negotiate an economically workable license fee. After over a year of trying, this has proved impossible. Both the PPL (which represents the record labels) and the MCPS/PRS Alliance (which represents music publishers) have demanded per track performance minima rates which are far too high to allow ad supported radio to operate and so, hugely disappointing and depressing to us as it is, we have to block the last territory outside of the US.

Based upon the IP address from which you recently visited Pandora, it appears that you are listening from the UK. If you are, in fact, listening from the US, and are denied access from Pandora on or after January 15th please contact Pandora Support:

It continues to astound me and the rest of the team here that the industry is not working more constructively to support the growth of services that introduce listeners to new music and that are totally supportive of paying fair royalties to the creators of music. I don’t often say such things, but the course being charted by the labels and publishers and their representative organizations is nothing short of disastrous for artists whom they purport to represent – and by that I mean both well known and indie artists. The only consequence of failing to support companies like Pandora that are attempting to build a sustainable radio business for the future will be the continued explosion of piracy, the continued constriction of opportunities for working musicians, and a worsening drought of new music for fans. As a former working musician myself, I find it very troubling.

We have been told to sign these totally unworkable license rates or switch off, non-negotiable…so that is what we are doing. Streaming illegally is just not in our DNA, and we have to take the threats of legal action seriously. 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.

We know what an epicenter of musical creativity and fan support the UK has always been, which makes the prospect of not being able to launch there and having to block our first listeners all the more upsetting for us.

We know there is a lot of support from listeners and artists in the UK for Pandora and remain hopeful that at some point we’ll get beyond this. We’re going to keep fighting for a fair and workable rate structure that will allow us to bring Pandora back to you. We’ll be sure to let you know if Pandora becomes available in the UK. There may well come a day when we need to make a direct appeal for your support to move for governmental intervention as we have in the US. In the meantime, we have no choice but to turn off service to the UK.

Pandora will stop streaming to the UK as of January 15th, 2008.

Again, on behalf of all of us at Pandora, I’m very, very sorry.

Tim Westergren
(Pandora founder)”


3 Responses to “Pandora to Stop Streaming To The UK on January 15th”

  1. Hey guys,

    We’re attempting to fight back in the UK and a petition has been submitted at the Prime Minister’s No.10 website (800 signatures and counting). We’re hoping that it will gather enough support (and attention) to force the government to get involved or ‘persuade’ the record industry into working with webcasters like Pandora.

    The reality is that the whole licensing system for UK Internet radio needs another overhaul (ironically, it had one in 2006, but look what they come up with!).

    It needs to be allowed to become competitive with commercial radio and it needs to reflect the way in which contemporary music fans want to listen to music.

    Here’s the link for the petition:

    Incidentally, Tim wasn’t kidding when he wrote that the rates “are far too high to allow ad-supported radio to operate”.

    The MCPS-PRS and PPL per track rate demands EQUATE TO BETWEEN 80 – 94% OF GROSS AD REVENUES, leaving Pandora with very little to even pay bandwidth, salaries and so on. And profit? I don’t think so.

    Personally, I hope common sense and economic sense prevails. If I were an artist I’d be baying for blood.

  2. Lest you think Pandora are simply unwilling to pay up, your visitors might like to read the blog link below, which shows how unrealistic the music industry’s demands actually are.

  3. JP LaMere Says:

    You could always use to connect to Pandora from anywhere, the service gives you rotating, secure, USA IP addresses, and costs $50/month.

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