Pandora Beams Down to Earth

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And yes, there is a financial method to the internet music service’s apparent madness… Hey, adult hits are big on the web too, just like in the terrasphere.

 By Fred Mills

 In an intriguing move, Pandora, the acknowledged web radio leader, announced today that it had purchased a tiny (read: SMALL; non-essential) terrestrial radio station located in that bustling market of Rapid City, SD. KXMZ-FM is officially part of the Pandora family now, and as Billboard.com reports, while this gives Pandora “few listeners (the station is in the country’s 255th largest radio market in the spring, according to Arbitron… its radio market had a population of 108,000 in the spring…), the purchase is a strategic move for Pandora [which] acquired the station in an attempt to take advantage of the [ASCAP] performance royalty fees available to broadcast radio stations and Internet radio services operated by owners of broadcast radio stations.”

 It’s a bit more complicated than that, so read the complete Billboard.com article, which outlines some of the friction Pandora has experienced in the last few years with ASCAP and other music industry organizations involved with royalties and publishing. As is noted in the article, “The acquisition of KXMZ was rooted in royalties, but the deal effectively begins an experiment in radio programming. Pandora already has 42,000 listeners amongst Rapid City’s population of roughly 70,000. [Pandora has a monthly listenership of over 70 million.] KXMZ ‘will apply Pandora’s insights and listening habits to program music that accurately reflects local listeners’ evolving tastes.’ KXMZ has an adult hits format. Pandora tells Billboard the station’s format will not be changed as a result of the acquisition.”

 Adult hits, eh? Hmmm…. For now, I think I’ll keep my Spotify sub current. Last time I wanted to listen to some Stooges the service cued up some Alice In Chains wannabe….

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