In a development some will see as a clear victory for independent concert promoters, Nobody In Particular Presents (NIPP) has settled its lawsuit against Clear Channel Communications (CCC) and several

NASHVILLE -- In a development some will see as a clear victory for independent concert promoters, Nobody In Particular Presents (NIPP) has settled its lawsuit against Clear Channel Communications (CCC) and several of its subsidiaries.

The terms of the agreement are confidential. Representatives from neither firm could be immediately reached for comment.

News of the settlement comes after a federal judge on April 2 allowed Denver-based NIPP to proceed with its suit against CCC, finding sufficient evidence that CCC had attempted to create a monopoly. A trial had been set to begin Aug. 2.

NIPP filed the suit in August 2001 in U.S. District Court in Denver, charging that CCC's "monopolistic, multimedia empire" was "severely harming NIPP's ability to compete ... resulting in higher prices and fewer offerings for consumers."

NIPP alleged that CCC-operated radio stations in Denver played songs by artists whose concerts were promoted by Clear Channel Entertainment in the market, but did not play songs by bands that NIPP promoted.

In the April 2 ruling, Judge Edward Nottingham ruled that CCC's cluster of eight radio stations in the Denver area was not a monopoly. However, the judge said he believed CCC had intended to create a monopoly position when it rejected paid advertising by NIPP.

Nottingham's 125-page decision read in part, "NIPP provides sufficient evidence that Clear Channel intends its manipulation of airplay to interfere with NIPP and other promoters' prospective business relations with artists."

Numerous bands, booking agencies, agents, managers and record-label personnel were mentioned in the court papers.

"This was a long and difficult battle, and we are very happy with this agreement," says Doug Kauffman, founder and president of NIPP, in a statement. "We look forward to continuing to be the leading independent concert promoter in the Denver area."

Andy Levin, Clear Channel's executive VP/chief legal officer, says in a prepared statement, "Clear Channel admitted no wrongdoing in connection with the lawsuit, but we are pleased to get the matter behind us."

Lead attorneys representing NIPP in the case were John Francis and Dale Harris of Davis, Graham & Stubbs in Denver.

The case has been followed with much interest by the concert industry at large. "I'd love to know the terms, but this potentially indicates Clear Channel had some particular reason to settle," observes independent promoter Jon Stoll, president of Fantasma Productions in West Palm Beach, Fla. "This is great news for the independents."

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