Pandora made headlines recently when it announced that it would be streaming all of the tracks from Adele’s new hit album ’25,’ unlike other streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. What most music fans don’t realize however, is that Adele and all other artists are compelled to allow Pandora to stream all of their music, and have no means to stop it.
Pandora recently touted the addition of “25” to its streaming service in a statement which read in part, “Good news radio listeners, you can now hear all songs from Adele’s latest album “25” on Pandora. It is clear radio listeners love Adele and are coming to Pandora to enjoy her incredible music.”
Adele and her record label, however, had no say in the matter. Because Pandora listeners can only create “stations” around specific artists or music genres, which they personally select, they can’t technically access specific songs or albums. That means Pandora is categorized as any other radio station would be. In addition, it goes in accordance with the U.S. law which states that it can play any song by any artist from any label, as long as it pays the legally mandated copyright royalties.
Benny Tarantini, Adele’s PR manager, explained, “This is a unique situation to the U.S. market. As it turns out, Pandora is licensed through government statute in the U.S. and as a result, record companies cannot withhold from webmaster radio services.” Other streaming radio services are also free to play tracks from “25,” including iHeartRadio, which is also actively streaming songs from the new album.
It’s hard to blame Pandora for promoting itself as one of the only streaming services to carry Adele’s new album. From the looks of it, the laws prohibiting the exclusion of songs from the service could prove to be a valuable marketing tool to differentiate the service from its competitors who are relegated to the whims of artists and labels as to what they can stream.
Much has been made of Adele’s decision not to stream her music, and based on “25’s” incredible sales records, more popular artists might apply a similar strategy in the future. If consumers become aware that Pandora – and not Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal or others – carries every song by every artist without exception, it could prove to be a great advantage for the streaming service, which is currently struggling to reach profitability.