Pandora forced to pull the final plug on UK service
A reader just forwarded us an e-mail from Pandora, explaining the situation. Here are the pertinent bits:
...As you probably know, in July of 2007 we had to block usage of Pandora outside the U.S. because of the lack of a viable license structure for Internet radio streaming in other countries. It was a terrible day. We did however hold out some hope that a solution might exist for the UK, so we left it unblocked as we worked diligently with the rights organizations to negotiate an economically workable license fee...
The message goes on to describe some of the problems Pandora has had trying to work out licensing agreements with UK licensing agencies that were financial suicide. Suffice to say, nothing could be worked out:
...Pandora will stop streaming to the UK as of January 15th, 2008.
Just when we think the music industry might finally be taking steps - small as they may be - to stop fighting against technology, and instead work with technology, something like this happens, and we are reminded once again that this is an industry doing anything and everything in its power not to evolve. Although the RIAA has been the most vocal in its lobbying efforts against the removal of DRM and against fair Internet radio rates, this incident proves that it is not just American record executives; it is the industry as a whole.
Never mind that forcing unfair licensing terms on Internet radio stations and riddling files with DRM hasn't worked (US album sales, even with digital sales tallied, declined by nearly 10 percent in 2007), let's just continue to refuse to face reality while the market and business model quickly disappear and change irrevocably.