The deal will allow artists and labels a deeper look at Pandora’s data on fans — and have some financial benefits, too.

Pandora has established a partnership with independent rights group Merlin that marks the Internet radio company’s first direct deal with record labels. Rather than pay statutory rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board, Pandora will pay rates negotiated with Merlin. In addition, the deal opens a line of communication between Pandora and labels that will help introduce Merlin’s music to listeners.

The U.S.-only deal will provide more than 20,000 labels and distributors with greater access to Pandora data and listeners. In an interview with Billboard, Merlin CEO Charles Caldas calls the deal “a huge opportunity to provide our members previously unavailable and unparalleled access” to Pandora’s 77 million monthly users.

Full story: Billboard