Radio Stations Offered Interim License Amid Antitrust Row

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By Anandashankar Mazumdar

A music licensing agency that represents a small number of superstars is offering an interim nine-month license to give more time for negotiations with radio stations.

Royalty negotiations between Global Music Rights—which represents the rights of John Lennon, Pharrell Williams, Bruno Mars and George and Ira Gershwin, among others—and the Radio Music License Committee had broken down with both groups filing federal antitrust lawsuits. RMLC represents the interests of about 10,000 radio stations in licensing negotiations.

Press releases from GMR and the RMLC said that radio stations can get interim licenses, running from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, to play music from GMR’s repertory if they sign up by the end of January.

Small, but Essential

GMR is the newest and smallest of the performance rights organizations that handle musical composition royalties for songwriters. Entertainment manager Irving Azoff formed GMR seeking to represent a small number of high-powered artists. RMLC said GMR has amassed an estimated 20,000 essential works.

GMR and the RMLC have been negotiating terms under which traditional AM/FM radio stations can play the music that GMR represents.

In November, the RMLC filed a lawsuit accusing GMR of antitrust violations. In December, GMR responded with its own lawsuit, charging the RMLC with violating federal antitrust law.

According to GMR’s press release, the interim license will allow “everyone additional time to negotiate long-term licenses with GMR.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Anandashankar Mazumdar in Washington at AMazumdar@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mike Wilczek at mwilczek@bna.com

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