Pandora’s Box

My wife and I were having brunch a few weeks ago at restaurant that shall remain nameless. The food was great, but what I noticed was the music playing in the background – one great Motown song after another. Yes, I am old. But great music is great music, even if it is 40 years old. Deal with it. So I asked the owner about where the music was coming from and he said it was Pandora. 

For readers who don’t know, Pandora is an online service that allows users to create their own “station.” So for example, if you like Bruce Springsteen, you can plug that in, and Pandora will play Springsteen songs, but also songs by similar artists, based on Pandora’s analysis of Springsteen’s music. Pandora offers a free service (which requires you to listen to commercials) and a subscription service (which allows you to listen commercial free).  

But getting back to brunch. The owner seemed to think it was okay to play Pandora as a soundtrack for his customers. It’s not. There are actually a lot of issues around this, including the copyrights of the artists and Pandora’s own terms of use. And licensing services like ASCAP and BMG police this stuff. So if you are emulating the proprietor featured here, you should probably stop. You don’t want to be one of their “featured artists” so to speak.

The good news? Pandora offers a license that will let you use Pandora in your establishment. As I have so often told my kids – “better safe than sorry.” I told you I’m an old man.