Pandora Media Inc Surges After Trading Halted Twice Earlier Today

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The shares of Pandora Media are trading higher after the trading on the stock was halted twice earlier today due to volatility.

The stock price of the internet video service provider was up more than 5% to $20.81 per share at the time of this writing around 2:10 in the afternoon in New York.

Earlier volatility related to CRB opinion on licensing issues

Some market analysts suggested that the earlier volatility on the shares of Pandora Media was related to the expected release of the opinion of the U.S. Copyright Office regarding the licensing issues confronting the company.

In a note to investors, SunTrust commented, “Conversations in industry lead us to believe that the [Copyright Royalty Board] wants to use the Merlin agreement as a benchmark and is deferring to the Register to remove any potential grounds for appeal (the CRB has previously asked SoundExchange why the Merlin deal shouldn’t be considered 20,000 direct licenses as Merlin represents 20,000 independent labels).”

The firm added, “If unable to use Merlin, the CRB has alluded to “numerous other license agreements” that we believe would continue to serve as benchmarks (iHeartMedia, potentially Apple), though we do believe Merlin is preferred (more straightforward, less adjustments needed).”

Pandora Media entered an agreement with Merlin, an independent music rights group, to negotiate royalty rates in August last year.

Copyright Office affirms Pandora Media’s agreement with Merlin

Pandora Media issued a statement indicating that the Register of Copyrights released an opinion addressing five novel questions of substantive law referred by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) in the “Webcasting IV” rate-setting proceeding.

According to Pandora Media spokesman Dave Grimaldi, the Copyright Office affirmed the admissibility of its agreement with Merlin as a valid benchmark in the
CRB proceedings

On July 29, Copyright Royalty Judges asked the Register’s opinion on the admissibility of the specific, direct-license benchmark agreements as evidence in the CRB proceedings.

“We look forward to the certainty that December’s decision will bring, and are prepared to thrive in a number of potential outcomes. Our investments in the business are providing a real return, including almost $1.5 billion in royalties to date. We are excited about the future of ad-supported music streaming and the benefits it brings to consumers and music makers alike,” according to Pandora Media.

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