April 10, 2004
Clear Channel lawsuit proceeds

A federal lawsuit in which Clear Channel has been accused of keeping artists of their radio stations unless they promote their tours through them can proceed.

On April 2, the judge tossed out part of [Denver concert promoter Nobody in Particular Presents]'s claims that Clear Channel illegally monopolized the market for rock concert tickets. But [U.S. District Judge Edward] Nottingham ruled that it could proceed with its allegations that the conglomerate attempted to create a monopoly. He set a trial date for Aug. 2.

Much of the evidence in the case remains under seal. But in his 125-page decision, Nottingham cited excerpts from several depositions and e-mails that allegedly show that Clear Channel executives tied airplay on Clear Channel stations to artists' appearances at Clear Channel concerts.

In one instance, an executive with Roadrunner Records, Jason Martin, testified in a deposition that a Clear Channel executive in charge of FM stations in Denver, Michael O'Connor, threatened in 2000 to yank the record label's acts off the air when he learned that they were touring with Nobody in Particular Presents. O'Connor declined to comment this week.

Another Roadrunner executive then e-mailed managers for artists involved in the flap, the judge said in his decision, and advised them to avoid using Nobody in Particular Presents or risk losing airplay.

In another deposition, a manager for rock singer Lennon testified that her label, Arista Records, demanded that she cancel a concert booked with Nobody in Particular Presents to avoid losing airplay on one of Clear Channel's Denver stations, KBPI. Airplay data submitted by the plaintiff indicate that Clear Channel stations had reduced the airtime given to songs by another Arista rock act, Adema, after the band signed a concert deal with the same concert promoter.

This is an antitrust suit, so that means triple damages if the plaintiff wins.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 10, 2004 to Music | TrackBack