Pandora Lockdown

Pandora, the online music service that allows you to discover new music tastes by seemingly knowing what you like better than you do is closing its doors to huge numbers of people outside of the united states. This news was broken to listeners on the Pandora blog.

The reason for this closure is mounting pressure from licensing organisations which have only granted Pandora the rights to broadcast to the United States. Up until now a simple US postcode check was sufficient to satisfy the license holders but after a few recent shake-ups in the way online radio is managed and charged this seems to no longer be the case.

Pandora is now only available to the US as well as the UK and Canada which the people at Pandora see as being very close to achieveing license deals to properly broadcast to. All other countries have sadly been locked out by an IP address block.

This lockdown is yet another indicator of a new war breaking out on the internet – one between the people who want to broadcast and listen and the people who hold the copyrights. This war is different though because while others have centered around illegal broadcasting, this centers around those that have a legal right to do so. The problem is money. There has been a bill passed in congress in the US that effectively doubles the amount of money online broadcasters there have to pay to copyright holders (see BBC news article). This amount now exceeds that for FM and AM conventional radio and is literally forcing a huge number of online broadcasters off the airwaves.

We can only hope that the lawmakers see sense and put a stop to this as it is broadcasters like Pandora that make me want to go out and buy music I would never have looked at twice when just passing the shelf in the store.


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