Merry Christmas, radio industry.
The Radio Music License Committee has given its members five weeks to consider a nine-month license agreement with Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights (GMR) licensing organization.
The agreement would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017, and conclude Sept. 30.
The newly agreed-to deal and Jan. 31 deadline for a decision gives AM and FM stations an immediate reprieve and eliminates any concerns over pulling dozens of records from music radio station song libraries, so as not to run afoul of legal rights violations.
RMLC members became aware of its proposal on Christmas Eve. The proposal was codified on Dec. 21. Prior to its proposal, stations faced a Dec. 31 deadline with reaching a rights agreement.
RMLC leaders drafted the interim agreement following communication on Nov. 22 and Nov. 28 sent to members regarding its attempts to try to reach some sort of agreement with GMR.
A letter send to RMLC members regarding the proposal, from RMLC’s Ed Christian, reads, “As the result of further discussions between the RMLC and GMR, GMR will make available to radio stations an interim license. This interim license will provide stations that choose to accept it the ability to perform GMR compositions during the
term of the interim license.”
Stations are asked to contact GMR to determine the specific fee for the interim license.
GMR will make the interim license available to all stations that wish to take it (excepting those that have already entered into a license with GMR).
RBR + TVBR OBSERVATION: Thanks to the brilliant individual that decided to release this information to the radio industry trades on Christmas Eve, resulting in a frenzy of activity from all covering the business three days after the deal was codified. Meanwhile, pop icon George Michael dies on Christmas Day and nothing happens in markets like Phoenix because the FM music stations are “pre-programmed.” Really, Radio Business? With plenty of hours left in the day when the sad news about the death of Mr. Michael hit, at about 3:15 p.m. Pacific, AC stations should have sent somebody in to de-program the automated programming and put on “WHAM! Radio,” or anything to respond to this. In Miami, Leo Vela broke the news in Spanish and English on WCMQ-FM “Z 92” and played “One More Try.” This is on a Tropical Classic Hits station, where he was actually live on the air. What did your stations do? If the answer is, “Nothing. Our staff was celebrating Christmas,” well then guess what? You lose. Facebook at 1 million people chatting about George Michael by 7 p.m. Pacific — just about four hours after his death. People were all over social media discussing this. If radio is the “original social media,” it can’t be interacting with listeners only when it decides to. Please tell us at [email protected] that your station broke in to regular programming to play a wall of Wham! Otherwise, you get an F on your holiday report card. As we enter 2017, let’s get smarter about the future of the radio business, and be prepared to go “Live” when needed. If Facebook can, why can’t you? Should the industry fail at this, a hard negotiation over music rights with GMR — rushed out to the industry as final preparation for Christmas Eve and the first night of Hanukkah were being done — will only seem less important. Why? Your listeners will be on Pandora and Spotify — listening to WHAM! Radio. If the GMR news was so important as to interrupt a holiday weekend for radio industry leaders, then interrupt it again to give your listeners the respect they deserve by saluting one of the biggest recording artists of a generation.