Sell! Pandora Can’t Do Streaming Unless They Fire Chris Harrison

I like reading stock analyst and blogger reports on companies like Pandora and Google.  I think this is where you really get a read on the machiavellian strategies of these predatory monopolies.  Not necessarily taking the analysts and bloggers at their word, but by interpolating the truth from what these folks are being fed.

I’ve noticed recently that  “someone” is floating the idea that Pandora will add on demand streaming to their offerings.  This  has become a lively topic on the stock trading blogs.

The problem is that Pandora can’t do streaming.  There is no compulsory license and they would have to negotiate in the free market with rights holders.  But rights holders no longer trust Pandora’s main legal strategist Chris Harrison. He has pulled two nasty bait and switch routines on rights holders with the CRB.  Here just read my comment on Seeking Alpha:

“… that’s just not true. Easy to google the facts on this one.  IF McAndrews and Herring really wanted to play nice with rightsholders they’d get rid of Chris Harrison. Harrison is still there and still up to the same old tricks. Harrison just pulled a bait and switch with MERLIN (the independent label alliance and about 16% of market). The same old one he pulled when he worked with DMX. He negotiated a sort of “payola” scheme with MERLIN, essentially a discount on spins in bulk for the MERLIN alliance (Payola is not illegal at digital unless maybe like Pandora you own a radio station). He then baited and switched on the labels and took this deal to the Copyright Royalty Board as evidence of a lower free market rate. I doubt the majors and large independents are gonna forgive him for this (a) second time.

Across the board in the music business there is the impression that Pandora, but especially Harrison, will not negotiate in good faith. Harrison always seems to have a trick up his sleeve. They aren’t gonna negotiate a favorable free market streaming deal with Harrison, and they are not required to. On demand streaming is not governed by feds, and Pandora/Harrison’s bad faith is now being used as an example of bad behavior in the copyright review process.

Frankly though, I think Harrison is brilliant. Like a hyena he picked off the dull witted sickly gazelle of the music business, MERLIN/Charles Caldas, and now he’s using its rotting corpse to bludgeon the CRB to lower rates across the board to all labels. Take that UMG! Now that’s leverage! If your strategy is just simply buying some time so Pandora executives can unload this years haul of $122 million dollars in stock compensation, it’s perfect.

Now this may seem to contradict everything I just said, but I don’t disagree with you that Pandora may be a buy (below $15?) But it’s a buy because it will be a takeover target.

Check these links  for background.”


By 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.

1 comment

  1. Good stuff – make clear they would only have to negotiate interactive streaming with LABELS. They still can extract PUBLISHING licenses with both a compulsory mechanical and a consent decree performance!

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