And both sides are claiming a win after the ruling. Federal Judge Terry Hatter (Central District of California) has denied the RMLC’s attempt to dismiss its case against GMR, which GMR says is a major blow to the radio industry. But the RMLC says the big news here is that the court agreed that if RMLC can prove the facts alleged—which everyone knows are true—then GMR is an illegal cartel.
GMR claims the ruling clears the way for GMR to challenge the way radio deals with songwriters. GMR calls radio a powerful cartel that has perpetuating unfair licensing practices against songwriters for decades..
The RMLC says that GMR’s entire reason for being is to raise the price of pre-existing music licenses, through what the antitrust laws call “concerted action.” “The court appropriately recognized that such conduct is indefensible as a matter of law.”
RMLC’s Executive Director Bill Velez said, “We were pleased but not surprised by the court’s important ruling. GMR is worse than the other PROs. Its only purpose is to charge more for what could previously be bought for less. The court rightly recognized that there is no excuse for that conduct under the antitrust laws.”
This years-ling battle is expected to finally land in court later this year. In the meantime radio stations must get short-term deals with GMR directly from the organization.
“We look forward to having our day in court with the RMLC cartel to stand up for songwriters,” said GMR Founder Irving Azoff. “It’s well past due for them to finally be treated fairly by broadcast radio.”
The judge also denied RMLC’s right to seek monetary damages from GMR.
GMR was founded in 2013 by Azoff and its rosters includes: Drake, Bruce Springsteen, Bruno Mars, the Eagles, and Smokey Robinson.