The Radio Music Licensing Committee’s ugly antitrust lawsuit against Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights continues to drag on.
Irving Azoff’s performance rights organization, Global Music Rights (GMR), doesn’t exactly see eye-to-eye with terrestrial radio group Radio Music Licensing Committee (RMLC).
According to the RMLC, Azoff and GMR are bullying major radio broadcasters into paying higher performance fees. GMR has leveraged its catalog of high-powered hits to force the higher radio rates. The radio group negotiates licensing fees for around 10,000 radio stations across the U.S. – 90% of the market.
RMLC has also accused Azoff and its PRO of antitrust violations.
GMR, in turn, has accused RMLC of paying too little. Earlier this year, the PRO’s attorneys lambasted the radio group for attempting to introduce ‘useless’ new evidence in the original lawsuit.
GMR countersued, claiming the radio group has also engaged in bullying antitrust tactics, labeling the organization an “illegal cartel.”
This fight first started three years ago.
Now, Azoff and GMR have won a small – but significant – victory in court.
Time to change courtroom venues.
Irving Azoff first launched Global Music Rights in 2013 to upend the way radio stations license music.
In the latest round, US District Court Judge C. Darnell Jones II ruled on Friday he doesn’t have “personal jurisdiction” over GMR. Thus, he transferred the case to a federal court in Los Angeles, GMR’s hometown. The PRO has long argued the case belongs in California.
Lambasting the radio group, GMR had stated RMLC filed in Pennsylvania just to gain “tactical advantage.” This, said the PRO, was basically “forum shopping.”
In a statement celebrating the ruling, Azoff said,
“I’m thrilled with today’s victory.
“Now, Global Music Rights gets to expose the radio cartel’s bullying tactics.
“It’s always worth the wait when artists win.”
Currently, GMR and RMLC operate under an interim licensing agreement as the argument continues to drag on in court.
GMR’s countersuit remains on hold in California pending the result of the recently-transferred lawsuit.