Pandora has used both lawsuits and the court of public opinion to seek ever-lower payments from musicians, songwriters and rights holders. Their latest offensive – this time vs. BMI and its 650,000 members – began in a New York courtroom just yesterday. Pandora’s argument is basically: ‘We’re creating value for musicians and labels, but we won’t be able to do that if we continue to lose money.” It’s easy to be sympathetic to that reasoning, until you learn the company plans to pay executives $122 million in stock compensation this year.
In 2014, a money losing Pandora paid its top executives $87.1 million in stock-based compensation, according to SeekingAlpha. In 2015, a still money losing Pandora says it will pay another $25 million in stock to execs on top of their hefty salaries in Q1; and a total of $122 million in stock-based compensation this year.