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GMR Offers to Extend Its Interim License with Commercial Radio Stations – But with a 20% Rate Increase

Amidst ongoing litigations, Global Music Rights (GMR) has agreed to extend its interim license with commercial radio broadcasters but with an increase in rates. 

GMR is one of the newest Performing Rights Organizations (PRO) licensing the public performance of musical compositions. Founded in 2013 by industry veteran Irving Azoff, GMR was the first U.S. PRO to be established in over 70 years. 

Its current interim license is set to expire on March 31, 2021, one year after its introduction. This interim license has been offered and extended for the past several years, allowing radio stations to play GMR music while GMR litigates with the Radio Music Licensing Committee (RMLC) over whether or not GMR is subject to antitrust regulations on its set rates. 

This faceoff began in November 2016 and is yet to be resolved. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic caused delays in the lawsuit so that it is now not expected to go to trial until next year.  

On Tuesday, March 2, the RMLC notified radio broadcasters of GMR’s intent to extend the interim license as it waits for the litigation to play out. However, GMR is demanding a 20% increase in the royalties that it receives. RMLC clearly communicated that this was not a negotiable rate. 

At this point, commercial radio stations have the option to either sign this new interim license with increased rates or stop playing GMR music, which for many stations is easier said than done considering the number of songwriters who are solely represented by GMR. In a recent blog post, broadcast attorney David Oxenford encouraged broadcasters to consult their attorney for advice regarding this situation.  

Noncommercial radio stations are not covered by this interim license. Rather, public performance royalties for noncommercial broadcasting are set by the Copyright Royalty Board. 

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