Entercom’s Radio.com Platform Hits Licensing Snafu
Back in June Entercom made a big to do about pulling the streaming distribution of its stations from TuneIn and aggregating them within the self-owned Radio.com platform. At the time Entercom CEO David Field boasted about their strategy to drive $100M in new revenue through Radio.com. Since then we haven’t heard much about the platform . . . until now.
This week in a federal court Entercom filed a complaint against an entity called Global Music Rights. GMR is a Performance Rights Organization (known in the industry as a PRO), similar to ASCAP and BMI. Currently GMR is embroiled in a lawsuit with another music distributor, and has decided to stop licensing its member-songwriters’ published works until that matter is settled. This has created a roadblock for Entercom to make Radio.com fully operational. (Are you still with me on this one?)
Right now you may be asking yourself, why doesn’t Entercom just exclude the GMR songwriters from its streamed music and get on with Radio.com? Here’s the hitch . . . to qualify for lower streaming royalty rates, Entercom needs to stream the identical music on Radio.com that’s being played on its stations. Since their stations often play GMR-licensed songs, Entercom is stuck in this streaming no man’s land until GMR’s legal issues get sorted out in court.
I guess streaming music isn’t as easy as flipping a switch after all.