Set, Match and Game to Pandora and Chris Harrison: MERLIN Gives Pandora the Rate Cut They’ve Always Wanted.


Harrison trounces performers and labels with MERLIN deal.  Congratulations. 

In the past I’ve had rather unkind things to say about Pandora and their chief legal strategist Chris Harrison.  But today I’d like to sincerely congratulate them on a game well played.  Pandora and Harrison have successfully outflanked performers by exploiting us where we were  weakest (and stupidest).  That weak spot?  The independent label rights licensing association known as MERLIN.

MERLIN led by Charles Caldas represents over 20,000 independent labels.  In a jaw-dropping bonehead move ,Merlin cut a direct deal with Pandora to license songs at about 1/2 the rate proposed by Sound Exchange IF Pandora plays Merlin songs more often than everyone else.  Isn’t that called payola?  Pandora is an FCC broadcaster after all!

We at the Trichordist knew what would happen next. Pandora would present this as evidence of a “willing seller” rate and then ask  the Copyright Royalty Board  to IMPOSE this rate on EVERYONE (even those of us that  never asked Charles Caldas to represent us).  Yesterday we learned that this is exactly what Pandora did.  How did we predict this?   We’re not particularly smart it’s just that  this is exactly the same move that Harrison used when he was at DMX.  You had to be pretty dim to not see this coming.  Apparently MERLIN did recently part ways with a  turnip truck.

Fool me once shame on you.

Fool me twice shame on Charles Caldas.

Congratulations Pandora!  Congratulations Chris Harrison.  Well played sirs, well played.

About Dr. David C Lowery

Platinum selling singer songwriter for the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven; platinum selling producer; founder of pitch-a-tent records; founder Sound of Music Studios; platinum selling music publisher; angel investor; digital skeptic; college lecturer and founder of the University of Georgia Terry College Artists' Rights Symposium.

6 thoughts on “Set, Match and Game to Pandora and Chris Harrison: MERLIN Gives Pandora the Rate Cut They’ve Always Wanted.

  1. Pingback: Pandora Just Screwed Indie Musicians And Their Users, Too - Tone Deaf

  2. David… I don’t think sarcasm can ever express the contempt and SHEER DISAPPOINTMENT that will be felt by artists and labels who entrusted their creative careers and livelihoods to Charles Caldas… TOTAL SELLOUT.

    Chris Harrison’s position for Pandora’s shareholders/investors and their low-pay seeking subscribers should be no surprise.

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