The three major record companies– Universal, Sony and Warner Music– as well as ABKCO– the company that issues records by the Rolling Stones and Sam Cooke– have filed a massive lawsuit against SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
The issue is non payment of royalties for pre-1972 recordings. I mean, everything made or released before February 15, 1972. SiriusXM plays nothing for the use of at least half the music they play all day, from the Beatles and Rolling Stones, to Motown, Stax, classic jazz, Broadway recordings, opera, classical, country, etc.
All the Sirius stations that cover that music–50s, 60s, Classic Soul, the Broadway channel, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, etc– SiriusXM deems it free. They’ve been sued twice already this summer but now the record companies have joined in to protect their artists.
It’s sort of surprising, knowing this, that Paul McCartney has done promotions for Sirius, knowing they don’t pay him for round the clock plays of Beatles music.
The lawsuit– which could be combined down the road with the two others– cites California law was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. It notes that not only the artists are suffering but also their families. No monetary amount is mentioned, but damages– if Sirius loses– could be hundreds of millions of dollars.