Azoff Fires Back At Radio: “It’s A Cartel”


Last month, the Radio Music Licensing Committee filed an antitrust complaint against Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights organization for what it called anticompetitive behavior. Wednesday GMR filed its own lawsuit against the radio industry, calling it a “cartel” and alleging that more than 10,000 U.S. radio stations wrongfully colluded to underpay songwriters to play songs on the radio.

Azoff said, “This is the most important fight of my professional life. I will not stop the fight for fairness to artists and songwriters.” GMR attorney Daniel Petrocelli said that station owners conspired to exercise their “collective muscle” and keep their music costs low rather than compete with one another for content.

According to the lawsuit (READ IT HERE), everyone is harmed by this radio industry conspiracy: Songwriters aren’t compensated fairly for their works, new composers are not incentivized to write new hits, and radio listeners could be blocked from hearing their favorite songs.

The 49-page lawsuit, on behalf of GMR’s 71 songwriters, was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.


  1. Here’s a secret: If a GMR writer is one of three writers of a hit, and the other two writers are with BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC, and you somehow play the song, you MUST also pay the GMR writer. You have no choice, even though the other two writers are covered by RMLC agreements. GMR has been smart to sign major collaborative writers who often co-write with others in order to force radio to pay them. And then he has the audacity to call radio a cartel.

  2. I hear the proposed fees are as much as all three other rights fees organizations combined. This “cartel” member in market 157 would have to lay off two or three employees to be able to afford this. We are barely able to make ends meet now. Another major fee would drive us out of music. Maybe that’s the real game…drive those of us who provide music for free so that people like Azoff can charge more and more and more. Maybe Irv should consider if the Hell Freezes Over tour would have been successful without all that radio airplay over the decades. Here’s another solution. Congress need to eliminate the payola rules. Let radio charge for airplay in order to compensate for these fees. What’s “fair for the goose”, right? Why does everyone think we are rolling in free cash?

  3. I think Irving Azoff has lost his mind. He, of all people, should recognize the promotional value of radio to music sales. I do hope he gets help.

  4. We have three leeches bleeding us now. We don’t need a fourth. Cumulus is offering up to 33% interest to their bondholders in order to cut debt. I-Heart is playing musical chairs with the banks and bondholders.
    Where does this clown think the money is going to come from?

  5. Funny how soon they forget how much begging went on to get artists played on radio in the first place, so they could make millions.


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