Radio Music License Committee – an organization representing over 10,000 terrestrial radio stations – is in an antitrust legal battle with music mogul Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights, LLC. The radio organization filed suit in a Philly Federal Court after royalty negotiations with GMR hit a wall. GMR wants better royalty payments and RMLC, obviously, does not.
Global Music Rights is a performance rights organization that helps to collect royalties for streams and airplay for it’s roster of artists. What makes this case interesting is not only the fact that RMLC reps around 10k radio stations, but that GMR represents some of the biggest songwriters in the world of music – from Drake to Jay-Z and even Bruno Mars and Adele.
But it doesn’t just stop at the biggest names today. GMR also represents John Lennon, The Beatles and Aerosmith among other huge acts. Representing these huge acts means that a LOT of the music that gets heard on terrestrial radio is from the artists represented by GMR.
Further complicating the problem is the fact that listenership and revenue in traditional radio formats is constantly declining. Video didn’t completely kill the radio star, but the internet and streaming is definitely stomping the living hell out of it. If smaller rural stations are forced to pay higher royalty rates, it may lead to their ultimate demise.
Bobby Owsinski writes on HypeBot:
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the area that I grew up in – Pottsville, PA. There used to be two small local radio stations – WPAM at a mere 1,000 watts, and WPPA at 5,000 watts during the day and just 500 at night. WPAM ceased operations in 2015 and had its license rescinded in June. WPPA seems to be holding on by a thread. While the 1 percenter stations in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh might be able to absorb any rate hike thrown at them (despite the claims of the National Association of Broadcasters), I wonder if even a small royalty hike might be enough to cause this tiny station to fail and rob the Pottsville area of its last local radio voice. What’s worse, how may other rural areas would be affected by similar situations as well?
The current licensing agreement between GMR and RMLC ends on September 30th of this year. After that, they’ll no longer be legally allowed to play music from GMR artists. So the stations brought an emergency motion to the courts on July 21, asking that they order GMR to continue to do business with the stations until the lawsuits are resolved.
No word on the courts decision yet.