Thursday, May 23, 2024

SiriusXM Satellite Radio Sued by Major Record Companies Over Pre-1972 Recordings


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.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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