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Radio Licensing Group Reaches Interim Agreement With ASCAP

The RMLC's previous license agreement with ASCAP covered 2017 through 2021, and expired on Dec. 31, 2021.

The Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) issued a notice that it has reached an interim licensing agreement with ASCAP as both parties continue to work toward a long-term deal. RMLC represents roughly 10,000 radio stations across the country during negotiations with performance rights organizations such as ASCAP and BMI for blanket licenses that cover the use of songs on those stations.

The RMLC’s previous license agreement with ASCAP covered 2017 through 2021, and expired on Dec. 31, 2021. The interim deal, which commenced Jan. 1, 2022, “effectively rolls over the fee terms of the expired license and affords the parties a window of time within which to negotiate a new license.”

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According to the notice, once a new licensing agreement is reached, radio stations might need to retroactively pay an increased rate backdated to Jan. 1, 2022, if the agreement negotiations or court adjudication end up requiring a higher rate. In the meantime, the RMLC advised radio station operators to continue to make ASCAP payments as usual, though stations should plan to submit their 2021 revenue reports to ASCAP by April 1, and plan on making adjustments to interim fees in accordance with those reports.

RMLC’s agreement with performing rights organization BMI, which covered from 2017 through 2021, also expired on Dec. 31, 2021.

Last month, the RMLC and Irving Azoff’s performance rights organization Global Music Rights (GMR) announced they had reached a conditional settlement (contingent upon a number of the RMLC’s member stations agreeing to the settlement). Earlier this month, the two parties announced they had finalized the agreement, with a majority of RMLC-member stations entering long-term licenses with GMR and putting an end to five years of antitrust litigation between GMR and the RMLC. The long-term licenses those stations agreed to begin April 1, 2022.