On last Thursday, Billboard wrote again about the Pandora/Merlin direct deal. For those of you who don’t know about the deal it basically says: Merlin accepts lower royalty payments if Pandora plays Merlin songs more often. We covered this a couple weeks ago after NPR’s Laura Sydell interviewed me about the deal.
Billboard says last week:
[T]he charge that the Merlin deal amounts to payola might be convoluted logic. Payola occurs when labels pay radio to play their music, not the other way around, as what happens in the digital realm. Even if the Merlin deal results in a slight economic benefit to Pandora, payola laws would need to be turned upside down and inside out to apply to this particular situation. Of course, stranger things have happened in the U.S. legal system.
Unfortunately, that’s not what the FCC website says and I think Ed Christman knows better which…
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