Pandora, an Internet service that lets people listen to streaming music, is shutting its service to non-U.S. listeners, according to several reports.
The ban is due to new regulations that will raise royalty fees that Webcasters must pay to record labels, Pandora founder Tim Westergren told The Register. The ban, he said, "follows months of pressure from record labels."
Pandora representatives told Techcrunch that they have been working on obtaining international licenses for nearly two years and are close to deals in the U.K. and Canada.
The service has always been intended for U.S. users, but until now, all that was required to sign up was a ZIP code. Now the site will block IP addresses located outside the States.
Blog community response:
"Anyone who's used Pandora for more than about five minutes realizes what a great service it is for the entire recording industry. It really does a good job of recommending new music to listeners -- the type of new music that fits in with what they like, and that they're much more likely to support with money. However, rather than recognizing the numerous ways that Pandora can grow their overall market, the recording industry has to shut it down since it won't pay them even more than they're already being paid. This harms the recording industry in numerous ways, and it's amazing they haven't figured that out yet."
"The company's decision comes in the wake of a stupid decision by the U.S. Congress to slap far-too-high royalty rates on streaming music - rates that are much higher than traditional and satellite radio. And you wonder why Web-savvy consumers, who love being able to discover lots of new music online, are still being tempted by P2P services!"
"Pandora surely did not decided for themselves to limit their services which leads to the question why the Music Industry is trying everything to stop people from listening to music which they probably would have bought. But you won't buy something that you don't know, don't you think ? Did not think the Music Industry could get any lower than they already are. They apparently can."