NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- At the beginning of July, something happened that largely flew under the radar in the U.S. and generated a sense of bewilderment Down Under: Pandora (P) became available in Australia and New Zealand.
Leigh D. Stark broke the news on the Australian Web site Gadget Guy, calling it a "fluke discovery." But even Stark appeared confused by the development, noting "The service that once closed its doors to international activity has for some reason opened them once again, with Australians now able to access the service called the 'Music Genome Project'."
For some reason ...?
Here's the deal, absent any official word from Pandora executives. I reached out to several and their company line has not changed much since founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren penned this blog post in October 2007: They're "cautiously optimistic" about returning to the international streaming airwaves.Long story short, Pandora had no choice but to block international IP addresses to its site in 2007. That's what the rules that govern Internet radio, not just Pandora, dictated. The company has always said it has an interest in returning to an international presence, but little more. Now, all of a sudden, Pandora resurfaces in Australia and New Zealand. Your Aussie and Kiwi counterparts, as of this writing, can only access Pandora via the desktop. So, what gives?
Here's what I think happened: Pandora struck a deal with regulators in the region to stream music in Australia and New Zealand. And it must have been a good deal. I simply cannot see Pandora signing on to an inequitable royalty structure like the one it continues to deal with domestically.
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