Radio stations accused of being an illegal cartel

12 December, 2016 in News

Radio

“Terrestrial radio stations pay only about four percent of their revenue — a tiny fraction — to the songwriters who create that music”

Global Music Rights founder Irving Azoff alleges thousands of US radio stations wrongfully colluded to underpay songwriters to play songs

Global Music Rights (GMR), on behalf of its 71 songwriters, alleges that more than 10,000 US radio stations wrongfully colluded to underpay songwriters to play songs on the radio. GMR, a company founded by artist-activist Irving Azoff, filed suit against the Radio Music Licensing Committee (RMLC) in federal court for antitrust violations.

“This is the most important fight of my professional life,” Azoff said. “I will not stop the fight for fairness to artists and songwriters.”

According to the complaint, the cartel controls more than 90 percent of radio industry revenue, reaches more than 245 million listeners weekly and represents more than 10,000 US radio stations. GMR’s attorney Daniel Petrocelli said that station owners conspired to exercise their “collective muscle” and keep their music costs low rather than compete with one another for content.

“Music is the lifeblood of terrestrial radio but, because of the conspiracy, owners of terrestrial radio stations pay only about four percent of their revenue — a tiny fraction — to the songwriters who create that music,” Petrocelli stated. “Other media distributors such as streaming music services, which are not part of the terrestrial radio cartel, pay substantially more money to songwriters.”

According to the lawsuit, songwriters aren’t compensated fairly for their works, new composers are not incentivised to write new hits, and radio listeners could be blocked from hearing their favourite songs.

“That is where the law steps in,” said Petrocelli. “Incentivising creativity is the basic tenet of copyright law and the reason Irving started GMR.”

GMR is seeking antitrust damages, which are tripled under the law, and an injunction forbidding the cartel from continuing its anticompetitive conduct. The company’s repertory includes songs performed by John Lennon, Justin Bieber, Smokey Robinson, Steve Miller, Shakira, Drake, Randy Travis and Kenny Chesney.

For more information about Global Music Rights, visit: globalmusicrights.com

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