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Sorry, Europe, don't hold your breath for Pandora music

Expanding beyond the United States would probably require lots of negotiations for expensive deals, Pandora CTO Tom Conrad says, so Spotify can breathe easier for now.

Pandora CTO Tom Conrad speaking at LeWeb 2012
Pandora CTO Tom Conrad speaking at LeWeb 2012. Stephen Shankland/CNET

PARIS -- Licensing constraints mean that Europeans who want to try the Pandora music service had best be patient, Chief Technology Officer Tom Conrad said today.

"The reason we're not here today is because of music licensing," Conrad said here at the LeWeb 2012 show. In the United States, Pandora can use a statutory licensing provision that "allows us to do what do without having directly negotiate licenses with record labels. It's very likely in other international settings we'll have to pursue direct licensing."

Direct licensing, a difficult series of negotiations between online companies and content producers, isn't easy. In the video realm, it's exemplified by the difficulties of Netflix, YouTube, and others to get premium content.

Direct licensing may be difficult, but that doesn't mean it's never going to happen, he said. "That may well be a part of our future," he said.

Don't expect big high-expense expansions soon, though. A U.S. this week after a gloomy forecast while reporting earnings, and looks like a bill to reform Net radio fees doesn't have enough support.

Europeans are accustomed to Spotify, an online music service that's expanded to the United States. Spotify is generally designed for playing specific songs and playlists, whereas Pandora is set up to play a sort of radio station that's akin to a particular band, song, or genre.