The Radio Music Licensing Committee (RMLC) and Irving Azoff’s performing rights society Global Music Rights (GMR) have reached a final agreement to settle their long-running legal dispute.
GMR filed a suit – alleging unfair payment of songwriters – in US federal court in 2016 against the RMLC, which represents the interests of some 10,000 commercial radio stations.
According to the announcement today (February 7), the agreement reached between the two parties includes a majority of commercial radio stations entering long-term licenses with GMR.
The settlement agreement is now final, and the licenses that radio stations signed will begin on April 1, 2022.
At RMLC’s request, GMR has agreed that any radio station that still wishes to opt into the settlement has the opportunity to do so until March 31, 2022.
As of April 1, 2022, stations without a license from GMR will no longer be permitted to publicly perform songs within the GMR repertory.
Global Music Rights was founded in 2013 by industry veteran Irving Azoff and long-term PRO executive Randy Grimmett.
The organization represents over 43,000 songs and 83 songwriters, including the likes of Pharrell Williams, Drake, Bruce Springsteen, Bruno Mars, the Eagles, Smokey Robinson and many others.
GMR’s complaint against RMLC in 2016 claimed that the US radio “cartel” controls more than 90% of radio industry revenue, while reaching what it said at the time was more than 245 million listeners weekly.
In December 2019, the US Department of Justice sided with GMR. In the wake of the DOJ’s filing, the PRO said that it filed the suit against the RMLC in 2016 to “challenge their stranglehold over the $22 billion radio industry”.
In February, a federal judge in California refused motions to dismiss the two parties’ antitrust suits against each other.
“I am proud of the GMR team for the hard work on behalf of songwriters in achieving this settlement.”
Irving Azoff, Global Music Rights
“Global Music Rights stands for songwriters and the value of their music,” said GMR’s founder Irving Azoff.
“I am proud of the GMR team for the hard work on behalf of songwriters in achieving this settlement.
“It is wonderful that GMR and thousands of radio stations coast to coast are partnered to bring great music to fans for many years.”
“This settlement puts an end to more than 5-years of litigation, and represents a shared desire by both sides to find a way for radio stations and GMR to work together on a long-term basis without repeatedly resorting to litigation.”
Ed Atsinger III, RMLC
RMLC Chairman, Ed Atsinger III, added: “This settlement puts an end to more than 5-years of litigation, and represents a shared desire by both sides to find a way for radio stations and GMR to work together on a long-term basis without repeatedly resorting to litigation.” Music Business Worldwide