Pandora today announced the addition of classical music to its personalized radio service. Pandora has spent several years expanding the Music Genome into the classical realm. The collection now includes tens of thousands of recordings by more than 500 composers spanning the major historical periods of classical music: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern and Contemporary.
Classical music fans have been woefully under-served when it comes to mainstream radio. With this launch, Pandora hopes to contribute to the growing resurgence of classical music by providing a powerful new way to enjoy and explore this rich repertoire. The service offers an extensive collection of music that can be tailored to an individual’s personal taste, regardless of one’s knowledge of classical music.
“We think classical music enthusiasts will be delighted by the ability to explore any and all parts of the classical music universe in ways that have never before been possible”, said Tim Westergren, Founder of Pandora. “At the same time, we hope to make classical music more accessible and relevant to everyone.”
Going to the Pandora site to check out this new service, I was redirected here and saw the following message:
Dear Pandora Visitor,
We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for most listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.
And further down on the page:
We will be notifying listeners as licensing agreements are established in individual countries. If you would like to be notified by email when Pandora is available in your country, please enter your email address below. The pace of global licensing is hard to predict, but we have the ultimate goal of being able to offer our service everywhere.
I'm glad that Pandora sent me the press release, wish them all the best with Pandora Classical, and would really like to review the service. It probably goes without saying that the service will increase in popularity and relevancy once it is available in more than one country, but I suppose I'll have to wait until Pandora is once more available in Canada.
Canada's copyright laws are to blame for the situation of Pandora being blocked north of the border, and has been the case since May, in a report from the Pandora blog.
I'm of two minds on this issue. While I'm disappointed that many governments are blocking the broadcasting of signals into their jurisdiction and demanding high royalties, I'm also aware of the need to make sure musicians are paid for their work that is broadcast on the airwaves.
And I know about this first hand. The broadcast recording of Abigail Richardson's dissolve that I made a few years ago with percussionist Ryan Scott and harpist Sanya Eng was played several times on CBC Radio 2, all with fair compensation, but when it was broadcast dozens of times on various European Broadcasting Union stations, we weren't paid anything in royalties.
One can only hope that online broadcasters such as Pandora can work with governments to create royalty models that support both the musicians and songwriters along with the companies that broadcast their work.