July 2017 – Update from the NRB MLC

Dear Friends:

We hope you are enjoying a restful, invigorating “Summer of 17.” Here are two important updates.

Global Music Rights: “GMR” is positioned to become the fourth Performance Right Organization (PRO) with which most broadcasters must deal (this is your committees’ size-up – not all of radio agrees). We thoroughly investigated GMR starting in 2016. Our Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) colleagues, who began antitrust litigation with GMR following failed negotiations, provided important insights as well.

In recent weeks, formal negotiations have opened between our two organizations. GMR is presently analyzing the music practices of NRBMLC’s commercial stations. In our earlier discussions, we advised GMR that a typical NRBMLC station is unlikely to use GMR music. We added that with the exception of a few “outliers” on our list — CCM and Spanish Christian — it’s unlikely that any GMR music is heard on NRBMLC stations.  We believe that GMR’s analysis will find our estimates to be true.

At the end of the day, NRBMLC will likely seek a form of license for its non-music members who wish to have “insurance” against inadvertent GMR music usage. We also hope to reach common ground with GMR on a blanket license that takes all the guess work away for all-music stations. During this waiting period, we strongly recommend that NRBMLC stations, both commercial and noncommercial, check the GMR website (www.GMR.com) before performing new songs – especially if they are in a classic rock-type genre.  

BMI Leaves Committee in Limbo: Earlier in 2017, your committee had reached a deal with BMI for a final commercial license, following three years of negotiations to replace our out-of-date 2005 license. We were about to ink a deal that would have shored up some new media deficiencies when BMI suddenly backed away.

We later learned that BMI and the RMLC had reached an impasse, and that BMI had later sued the RMLC in Federal Court. This was because the RMLC had offered BMI less than it had offered ASCAP (the RMLC had learned that BMI lost a larger number of important songwriter affiliates to GMR than had ASCAP). We hope that BMI will return to our table. It is possible, however, that your committee will need to resort to more stringent measures with BMI to try to recoup some of the thousands of negotiating dollars we have spent.

Your generosity helps to keep your committees’ critical efforts alive!

Gratefully,

Russ Hauth
Executive Director

4880 Santa Rosa Road, Camarillo, CA 93012
(805) 482-7290 • www.nrbmlc.com

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