February 2017 – Update from the NRB MLC

Dear Friends:

Many members have inquired about the licensing demands of Global Music Rights (GMR).

GMR in general terms: GMR was formed approximately three years ago. Its strategy has been to focus on composers of the most popular songs on radio and entice them to withdraw from their existing PRO relationships (ASCAP, etc.) by offering higher royalties. GMR has signed over seventy prolific songwriters whose works are recorded widely. Its current song catalogue has nearly 24,000 entries.

GMR’s CEO Randy Grimmett advised us that GMR has not yet signed composers of Contemporary Christian and Gospel music, but plans to do so “soon.”

Last week, your committee determined it would be good defense to begin a dialogue with GMR. Our discussions have thus far focused on commercial stations. Here is what we can share at this point:

NRBMLC Commercial Stations: We have told GMR that a large majority of NRBMLC member stations are talk-formatted and perform little to no music. Consequently, a GMR blanket-only license would not work. GMR responded they would consider offering alternatives to their blanket license, e.g. All-Talk and Per Program Licenses offered by other PROs. Mr. Grimmett requested a list of NRBMLC stations, but we declined this request until we first have assurances that GMR will not harass or sue NRBMLC member stations.

NRBNMLC Noncommercial Stations: GMR has been advised that NRBNMLC represents more than 600 noncommercial radio stations. We have made clear that these stations do not require a GMR broadcast license, because NRBNMLC-negotiated broadcast licenses under the auspices of the CRB only require ASCAP, BMI and SESAC licensing for the entire range of copyrighted music. However, since those licenses do not cover streaming, NRBNMLC stations are vulnerable should they inadvertently stream GMR music.

Once your committee has received legal assurances from GMR, negotiations will likely broaden to include our noncommercial member stations. In the meantime, you should not accept a license or agree to be licensed by GMR until you first consult with your station’s counsel or your committee.

Thank you for encouraging us by supporting these efforts! We could not do this work without you.

Russ Hauth Executive Director

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