New York state’s attorney general and Sony BMG Music Entertainment are close to a settlement over accusations that the record company giant used improper tactics to influence radio programmers to play its music, The New York Times reported on Saturday (July 23).
Citing people involved in the discussions between Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and Sony BMG, whose current big-sellers include Foo Fighters, Kelly Clarkson and System of a Down, the newspaper reported that an agreement was expected to be announced on Monday, although its sources said the talk could still break down.
Sony BMG, one of the big four music labels, is a joint venture between Japan’s Sony Corp. and Germany’s Bertelsmann AG.
The settlement could provide a blueprint for agreement between Spitzer and three other major record companies that have also been subpoenaed, including the Universal Music Group, a unit of Vivendi Universal; the EMI Group; and Warner Music Group.
Among the settlement’s components as reported by the Times are:
— Sony BMG is expected to admit to misconduct in its radio promotion practices and agree to changes that would limit attempts to influence airplay, such as ending its use of independent promoters who are paid to lobby programmers to play new songs.
— Sony BMG would likely end payments to stations to broadcast songs often in order to raise a work’s place on airplay charts.
— The company is expected to pay a multimillion-dollar fine.
Spitzer’s office declined comment on a settlement, the newspaper said.