November 30, 2015

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CC Rethinks, Updates Indie Artist Contract

Clear Channel has dropped a licensing agreement that requires independent artists to waive royalties to be considered for airplay on the chain’s more than 1,100 stations. The move comes as good news to the Future of Music Coalition, which recently launched a campaign to end the requirement.

Following Clear Channel’s recent settlement of a payola investigation with the FCC, Clear Channel (and other broadcasters) agreed to air 4,200 hours of indie music. Clear Channel set up web pages attached to each of its stations that allowed local and independent artists to submit their music, but artists had to check a licensing agreement that gave Clear Channel “the royalty-free non-exclusive right and license, in perpetuity” to the content submitted via their website.

Then, earlier this month, Senator Russ Feingold, D-Wis., sent a letter to each of the major radio station groups, questioning their intent to honor the conditions of the payola consent decree. Feingold referenced the Clear Channel royalty issue in the letter, saying that the “required royalty waiver seems to violate the April commitment not to barter access to music programmers. I encourage you all, and Clear Channel in particular, to clarify this issue.”

“The fact that Clear Channel would require artists to waive royalties to get consideration for airplay clearly shows they’ve learned little from the payola scandal of the last couple years,” said Jenny Toomey, executive director of the Future of Music Coalition. “Clear Channel is playing the same old tune.”

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