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As radio industry prepares for fight with Global Music Rights, announces new deal with ASCAP

By | Published on Friday 16 December 2016


While Irving Azoff’s mini-performing rights organisation Global Music Rights prepares for what is a definite contender to be next year’s stand out battle in the pop courts – ie his fight with the US Radio Music Licence Committee – bigger PRO ASCAP has only gone and announced a new five year deal with the same radio industry body.

The American song rights collecting society confirmed the new deal with the RMLC, which represents US broadcasters, yesterday. It explained that “the agreement covers the five-year period 2017 to 2021 [and] provides for increases in the rates paid by radio stations to perform music by ASCAP members via terrestrial, over-the-air broadcasts as well as certain digital transmissions”.

The new deal also, the PRO said, “for the first time expressly affirms the percentage share of radio performances represented by ASCAP – at a level that reflects that ASCAP licenses more performances on broadcast radio than any other performing rights organisation”.

ASCAP boss Elizabeth Matthews said that reaching a voluntary agreement with the radio industry was good for her membership, which is probably true, but no fun for us. Where’s my messy legal battle? “Reaching a voluntary agreement with the terrestrial radio industry enables ASCAP to stabilise and grow revenues for our members, while continuing to aggressively advocate for regulatory reform to modernise the music licensing system”, she said.

She added that “we are confident that our new agreement will provide enhanced financial benefits to ASCAP songwriters, composers and music publishers at a time of tremendous disruption in the music industry”.

For his side, RMLC Chairman Ed Christian added: “This agreement demonstrates how the creative and music user communities can work together in good faith to produce an outcome that is positive for both sides. The increase in ASCAP fees is consistent with ASCAP’s established spin share on radio. We are pleased to close this deal ensuring that there will be no interruption in ASCAP music being performed on American radio at a time when the music licensing landscape has become increasingly complex”.

Did anyone choose to infer any “fuck you Irving Azoffs” in any of those statements? No, me neither. Well done ASCAP. Now, let’s bring on the big GMR v RMLC court battle. I might even buy a new hat.