By Ed Christman
A tale, told in the Manhattan court where BMI and Pandora are arguing their cases, illustrates perfectly the angles and lengths that these organizations are willing to go to prove a point. It also shows why the hot issue of whether publishers can withdraw their digital rights from the performance rights organizations’ (PROs) blanket licenses may be a good thing for the largest of music publishers, but not for smaller publishers.
It went something like this. When BMG Chrysalis withdrew from BMI on Jan. 1, 2014 it asked for a rate that Pandora apparently was unwilling to pay, prompting the service to pull any song that BMG controlled a 100% stake in for six months. One label with songs licensed from BMG tells Billboard it missed out on at least $75,000 in revenue during that period.