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Lawsuit Alleges Classic Rockers Not Getting Paid by SiriusXM

Evening Standard, Hulton Archive, Getty Images

According to a new lawsuit recently filed by the royalty-collection organization SoundExchange, the SiriusXM satellite radio service is neglecting to pay artists for the broadcast of any music recorded before 1972.

As Vintage Vinyl News succinctly states it, “SiriusXM have taken the position that they don’t owe royalties on any recording made prior to February 15, 1972, due to a federal statutory license” — a position that impacts the balance sheets of a huge group of acts that includes everyone from Frank Sinatra to the Rolling Stones, and one that’s being vigorously countered by SoundExchange, which is seeking between $50 and $100 million in compensation on behalf of the affected artists.

Accusing SiriusXM of “knowingly withholding royalties from the creators who bring life to their service, even as the company continues to experience unprecedented and explosive growth,” SoundExchange president and CEO Michael Huppe said, “We cannot sit by and watch this multi-billion dollar company reap record profits from the creative contributions of artists and labels without paying them everything they deserve.”

The case is also being covered by Roger Friedman at Showbiz411, where Soul Arts and Music Foundation director Heather Sauber is quoted as saying, “Getting paid by Sirius would be life changing money for the pre-’72 legacy artists.”

The terms of the lawsuit are explored in a Billboard article that notes that SoundExchange’s suit is separate from the $100 million one filed earlier this month by Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, a.k.a. Flo & Eddie, who are accusing the service of broadcasting their songs without permission.

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