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ASCAP Petitions FCC To Deny Pandora's Purchase of Radio Station 229

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-say-no dept.
chipperdog writes "NorthPine.com reports: 'ASCAP is firing back against Pandora Radio's attempt to get lower music royalty rates by buying a terrestrial radio station, "Hits 102.7" (KXMZ Box Elder-Rapid City). In a petition to deny, ASCAP alleges "Pandora has failed to fully disclose its ownership, and to adequately demonstrate that it complies with the Commission's foreign ownership rules." ASCAP also alleges that Pandora has no intention of operating KXMZ to serve the public interest, but is rather only interested in obtaining lower royalty rates. Pandora reached a deal to buy KXMZ from Connoisseur Media for $600,000 earlier this year and is already running the station through a local marketing agreement.'"
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ASCAP Petitions FCC To Deny Pandora's Purchase of Radio Station

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  • Fuck ASCAP (Score:5, Informative)

    by Type44Q (1233630) on Monday July 29, 2013 @02:49PM (#44415359)
    Fuck ASCAP and everything they represent.
  • Intentions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 29, 2013 @02:50PM (#44415363)

    ASCAP also alleges that Pandora has no intention of operating KXMZ to serve the public interest, but is rather only interested in obtaining lower royalty rates.

    Paying lower royalty rates to parasites like ASCAP unquestionably serves the public interest.

  • by redmid17 (1217076) on Monday July 29, 2013 @02:52PM (#44415385)
    Have they heard most of the radio stations operating today? 99.9% of the content is demonstrably not for the public good.
    • And yet people still listen to the crap when there are plenty of easy alternatives - including podcasts & personal music collections. I really don't get it. Sports and other live events are the only decent reasons to turn on the radio.

      I really cringe at how often music is repeated on a music radio station, it's the same 20 songs repeated every hour or something like that.

      • "the same 20 songs repeated every hour"

        That's what I like about BobFM and JackFM. Or, did. The Bob station that I listened to on the way to work was bought by someone who thought that Texarkana needed yet another country station. But - no matter the genre, if they can't avoid repeating the same song more than once a day, the station is a FAILURE!!

  • ah the ASCAP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iggymanz (596061) on Monday July 29, 2013 @02:56PM (#44415445)

    these are the choads that wanted royalties for your ringtones, but federal court smacked them down.

    Past time to put this cartel parasites to the flames, treat them the same as the mafia.

    • Oh, they just wanted to double dip on ringtones. Want to record and sell a whole 3 minute song? That'll be 9.6c per track. Want to clip and distribute a 10 second clip of that song as a ringtone? That's 25c. Written into law. They just wanted to get paid a second time for when some asshole's phone rings with a clip of a song you didn't want to hear anyway.

    • Past time to put this cartel parasites to the flames, treat them the same as the mafia.

      Perhaps Pandora has a RICO complaint ready...

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Monday July 29, 2013 @02:56PM (#44415451) Journal

    ...to pay a pittance in royalties, and nothing-nada-zilch to the recording artists, but they get all bent out of shape when you do it over this newfangled "internet" thing, even if it's basically the same (Hit 90s Pop on Pandora sounds like every other Clear Channel station out there).

    ASCAP is just looking to make sure they don't lose all that money they spent lobbying to get much higher rates for internet streaming than for airwave streaming.

    • the difference is that ASCAP gets a lot more per 'play' from radio stations than they get from streaming sites like Pandora which just isn't fair. Just because a 'play' on terrestrial radio could be head by half the population of Chicago and a streaming 'play' is usually heard by a single person should not be a reason that they shouldn't be paying the same per-play rates right?
      • by hawguy (1600213)

        the difference is that ASCAP gets a lot more per 'play' from radio stations than they get from streaming sites like Pandora which just isn't fair. Just because a 'play' on terrestrial radio could be head by half the population of Chicago and a streaming 'play' is usually heard by a single person should not be a reason that they shouldn't be paying the same per-play rates right?

        If it makes you feel any better about it, no radio "play" will ever be heard by me - the only new music I hear is from Pandora or Spotify (while comutting, I either stream Pandora or a podcast from my phone to my bluetooth enabled car stereo). And I suspect that increasingly, fewer and fewer of the listeners that advertisers care about will be listening to over the air radio.

      • If they could figure out a way to determine the number of active receivers and charge per receiver to radio stations, you can bet they would!

      • by PRMan (959735)
        So a "play" for a single person doesn't correspond to a "play" for 1 million people? Wow. Really? I had no idea.
  • by intermodal (534361) on Monday July 29, 2013 @02:58PM (#44415459) Homepage Journal

    if ASCAP is against it, it must be a good idea!

  • You basically can't do anything in this country without stumbling into the web weaved by some bullshit lobbying group. I'm not a big Ayn Rand fan, but we really are a society of producers and moochers.
    • by PRMan (959735)
      Well, people with absolutely zero talent have to feed their families somehow, right? (J/K, for the record, I am a producer of software.)
  • Asshat (Score:5, Funny)

    by dramaley (20773) on Monday July 29, 2013 @03:13PM (#44415607) Homepage

    Am i the only one who initially read the title as "Asshat Petitions FCC To Deny Pandora's Purchase of Radio Station"?

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx . b c.ca> on Monday July 29, 2013 @03:18PM (#44415667) Journal

    "ASCAP also alleges that Pandora has no intention of operating KXMZ to serve the public interest, but is rather only interested in obtaining lower royalty rates"

    Even if true (and I actually have little doubt that it is), does it even matter? If owning and operating a radio station gives them lower royalty rates, as long as they are actually carry out operating such a station, what difference does their incentive make?

    • by evilviper (135110) on Monday July 29, 2013 @03:47PM (#44415973) Journal

      what difference does their incentive make?

      When you use the public airwaves, you have to follow the government's rules. Always part of those rules is your service fulfilling some form of public interest. With TV, this means a certain number of hours of children programming, regular news programming, and some emergency news and emergency alert capabilities.

      If you don't like the rules, you don't get to use the radio spectrum for free, and can purchase some spectrum from the FCC yourself, at very high rates like the cell phone companies do, and then you can broadcast, to whoever has your proprietary receiver, whatever you want...

      Clear Channel got in trouble a while back because their highly automated operations meant no-one was around to answer the phone at a local radio station, so they didn't broadcast the alert the local police wanted to get out to the public, until many hours later. That's the kind of thing that gets broadcasters shut down. That's the kind of thing ASCAP is accusing Pandora *will* do in the future.

      If Pandora does a good job running the radio station, more power to them. But they DO have many obligations to the public that they need to fulfill to be licensed by the FCC.

      • by sjames (1099)

        Still, 'in the public interest' is pretty watered down as a legal term in the U.S. Supposedly, all corporate charters are required to be 'in the public interest' as well.

        Does ASCAP mean that they have some substantial reason to believe Pandora will not correctly handle emergency alerts?

        Other than a few very specific FCC rules, 'in the public interest' is essentially a meaningless phrase these days. I'm fairly sure that even a large man farting out (literally) classic tuba tunes 24/7 could manage to make the

  • ASCAP also alleges that Pandora has no intention of operating KXMZ to serve the public interest, but is rather only interested in obtaining lower royalty rates.

    A company wants to operate a radio station to make money?! Holy sh*t, this MUST be stopped!

    No, not you Clear Channel.

    Didn't mean you Entercom.

    Of course not you, CBS.

    You're fine, Cumulus.

    ...

  • by intermodal (534361) on Monday July 29, 2013 @03:26PM (#44415741) Homepage Journal

    The claim seems to hinge upon the assertion by ASCAP that if Pandora is able to acquire a brick-and-mortar airwave radio station, it will cause "significant economic harm on ASCAP." The fundamental flaw with that argument is that ASCAP is not entitled to have a bad business model protected by the laws or courts. Nor is ASCAP entitled to block anybody from making moves that give them an improved position from which to bargain.

    The best comparison I can think of comes from the airline business.

    This reminds me of American Airlines trying to sue Southwest out of Love Field in the early 1970s with claims that allowing Southwest to operate out of Love would hurt the newly-opened DFW International Airport (indeed, trying to force Southwest into the agreement between all the other airlines of the day to abandon Love and move to DFW, Southwest's service not having existed when the agreement was forged), and the much more recent United opposing Southwest's plans to go international from Houston Hobby on the grounds that it would adversely affect United's bottom line. Thankfully, the latter was basically shot down by the City of Houston, but the American Airlines fight against Southwest's operation at Love raged on for decades, with Congress getting involved more than once.

  • Of all the people with their hands out, making money from music, the performers and writers are the ones creating the content and getting the shaft when it comes to getting paid for their work. Pandora and other streaming services are doing nothing except preserving this status quo.
    • I have nothing against the creators, but when one broadcast format gets preferential treatment over another, I don't see how that serves anyone.

    • ASCAP doesn't give a rat's ass about the performers - those are just monkeys making sounds. They're concerned about the big-hit, blockbuster songwriters almost exclusively. I say big-hit songwriters and not all songwriters because the pay scale for royalties is unfairly skewed to only those on the top of the radio playlists.

      In a "perfect" world, everybody would get paid per play (or not at all, depending on your point of view), not based on a formula made up by the biggest names to only work in their favor.

    • by sjames (1099)

      Perform exclusively your own original songs in your own venue (say a pub) and ASCAP will still come knocking demanding payment. If you protest that it's your own material, they'll invite you to pay them an annual fee to collect your portion of the royalties they will collect from you on your behalf minus 'administrative costs'.or don't pay the fee and they'll just give the royalties to Justin Bieber. Of course, since the royalties due to you (as they calculate) will be less than the annual fee for their ser

      • by Rougement (975188)
        1) they would demand payment from the venue, not the musician. 2) There is no annual fee, it's a one-time $50 membership. Another $50 if you also want a publisher membership.
  • Maybe Pandora will "give" the radio station the money to buy a Pandora.
    Pandora will of course have a long term licensing agreement with a new corp. Meta-Pandora and most of the money will get funnelled to Meta-Pandora.

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