It depends on how a song is streamed.
When SiriusXM unveiled “The All-New Pandora” in late 2019, the company made it clear that the platform would be a far more personalized experience. While its main selling point is still algorithmic stations built around your favorite artists, genres, and eras, the service now lets all of its listeners “search and play what you want.” Premium users can even make and share playlists, and listen offline as much as they want, making Pandora’s offering more similar to an on-demand service like Spotify or Apple Music - sometimes.
And that’s where things get complicated for songwriters, as Pandora’s different plays blur the line between “interactive” and “non-interactive” streaming. Its signature “personalized stations” are still on autopilot overall — a digital version of terrestrial radio that generates only performance royalties. A Performing Rights Organization (PRO) like ASCAP or BMI pays 50% of these earnings directly to the songwriter, and the publisher’s share is collected by the writer’s publisher or publishing administrator.
Pandora’s semi-interactive side (playlists and other forms of on-demand listening) generates both performance and mechanical royalties, like any on-demand streaming service. Please note: Like these other streaming services, if you’d like your songs to land on one of Pandora’s interactive offerings, they must be distributed by a distribution partner like CD Baby or Distrokid.
Interested in learning more? Check out our blog post on the two different types of streaming royalties.
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