RMLC Taking On BMI and ASCAP Separately After Court Loss


    In May, a federal judge struck down the Radio Music License Committee’s case to combine rate court proceedings with ASCAP and BMI. Undaunted, the RMLC has filed its intention to separately litigate cases with each organization to keep current radio royalty rates in place until at least 2026.

    The RMLC sought to combine rate proceedings, as to assign market share to ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and Global Music Rights. This strategy aimed to keep the rates in line with market share, regardless of each Performance Rights Organization’s song catalog.

    Even as the RMLC appeals the court’s ruling, they have filed federal petitions to begin the processes with each individual company to maintain the same rates as the prior agreement covering 2017-2021. Amended petitions were filed on BMI on August 10 and ASCAP on Tuesday.

    According to the RMLC’s petition, BMI is requesting a rate increase from 1.78% to 2.95%, while the rate that ASCAP is seeking has not been disclosed. The RMLC has proposed rolling forward the combined rate of 3.51% of net revenue, contingent on ASCAP and BMI agreeing on a mechanism for assessing each of their market shares.

    “The RMLC would rather continue to waste time and money on expensive litigation than simply paying songwriters a fair royalty for the use of their music,” said ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews. “It’s not that complicated. Simply treat music creators who support your successful and profitable businesses with dignity and respect and everyone wins.”

    As both the PROs and the RMLC await the rate court proceedings to conclude, all parties have agreed to an interim rate that permits radio to continue playing music without copyright infringement.


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