After reading Churbuck's comment on the band Battles I thought I'd go to pandora and see what bands might be suggested. I hadn't used Pandora for a while. I type the URL, hit "Enter" and I'm "welcomed" with this message:
Dear Pandora Visitor,
We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for most listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.
So I do the natural thing: I google it. Tech Crunch explains the deal to some detail. Here's the most relevant paragraph:
Pandora operates under Section 114 of the DMCA, which gives them a clear process for paying rights holders in the U.S. There is no international equivalent of the DMCA, and so to operate legally in other countries, Pandora must sign deals with rights holders directly. That means separate deals with labels and publishers for each song, an extremely difficult and time consuming task
I can understand, yet it wont make sense. Major record labels are already global, and those who aren't have deals to ship and commercialize their material overseas. If they were a little bit interested in using Pandora (or last.fm or any other online broadcasting service) for their own benefit and artist promotion (and they could easily do so!!) this sort of thing as well as the issues they are facing with RIAA fees would be solved in a millisecond.
Yet record labels fight every front on the internet they can't control. (Note how this statement excludes services such as iTunes store). They are realizing they are starting to be a waste of money, an unnecessary annoyance. Instead of having the old model for commercializing music (artist -> label -> store -> purchaser) the internet allows new models that render record companies obsolete (artist -> store -> purchaser or artist -> purchaser). No one likes to loose a perfectly profitable business, but I do believe it is just a matter of time before record companies either disappear or are forced to re-invent themselves (a role they could still play is merely advertising artists, charging a fee for that). Artists should be paid for their creations, that is utterly out of the question.
The process has already started. Labels fought (and fight) p2p, now it's the turn for internet radio (mascaraded in the form of legislation). They can't possibly win; and if they do, only the music lovers and artists will suffer the consequences. And that is almost all of us.