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IRVING'S PRO FILES SUIT AGAINST RADIO "CARTEL"

Global Music Rights (GMR), the performance-rights organization started by Irving Azoff, has filed an antitrust suit in L.A. against the Radio Music Licensing Committee, which it describes as a "cartel of radio station owners colluding against songwriters." The letter below went out to the press, outlining the action.

"This is the most important fight of my professional life," Azoff tells us. "I will not stop the fight for fairness to artists and songwriters."

Global Music Rights’ antitrust complaint against the Radio Music Licensing Committee was filed today in federal court in Los Angeles.  As you will see, the case concerns music licensing and the illegal actions of a powerful cartel of radio station owners colluding against songwriters. 

Los Angeles-based GMR represents just over 70 talented songwriters and licenses their songs for public performance. GMRs' repertoire includes songs performed by everyone from John Lennon to Justin Bieber, from Smokey Robinson to Steve Miller, from Shakira to Drake, and from Randy Travis to Kenny Chesney. Founded in 2013, GMR is the first new company in the performance rights business in more than seven decades.

The Nashville-based Radio Music Licensing Committee represents more than 10,000 radio stations across the country, which collectively reach 245 million listeners per week and constitute more than 90% of radio industry revenue.  GMR’s lawsuit charges that the members of RMLC conspired to artificially depress the fees radio stations pay to perform musical compositions on the radio.

"This is the most important fight of my professional life," Azoff tells us. "I will not stop the fight for fairness
to artists and songwriters."

According to the complaint, in a multi-billion dollar industry that relies on music for its lifeblood, terrestrial radio stations pay less than 4% of their revenues—an infinitesimal percentage—to the songwriters who create that music. Other media distributors such as streaming music services, who are not part of a cartel like the RMLC, pay substantially more of their revenue share to perform these same works. In short, the cartel has been a smashing success.

Everyone is harmed when a conspiracy perverts the market and retards prices.  Established songwriters aren’t compensated fairly for their works, new composers are not incentivized to write new hits, and radio listeners are blocked from hearing their favorite songs. Antitrust and competition laws forbid this. Incentivizing creativity and harnessing talent is the copyright law’s fundamental tenet—and GMR’s very purpose. 

Because the radio cartel refuses to play by the rules, GMR seeks justice in the courts. GMR seeks antitrust damages, which are tripled under the law, and an injunction forbidding the cartel from continuing its anticompetitive conduct.

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