Last month, the Future of Music Coalition (FMC) accused Clear Channel of forcing musicians to give up their digital copyrights in order to get the airplay that is required under the payola consent decree. Now the FMC has formally filed a complaint with the FCC over the matter.
In the FMC's filing, the organization is asking that the FCC rule that artists who waive their digital rights in exchange for airplay are actually sponsoring broadcasts, and rules relating to sponsorship should apply to those artists. The FMC notes that it has filed the complaint to "resolve any possible uncertainty as to the applicability of the commission's sponsorship-identification rules to certain broadcast programming carried by Clear Channel Communications Inc."
"This is naked and transparent pay-for-play," said FMC policy director Michael Bracy. "The fact that Clear Channel would ask artists to give up a valuable royalty as a condition of even having their song considered for airplay questions their commitment to stamping out payola. The fact that the move comes as part of the payola settlement is unbelievable. Clear Channel has responded to allegations of payola with payola."
The entire complaint filing can be read here in PDF format.
Last week, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) sent an open letter to the heads of CBS Radio, Citadel, Clear Channel and Entercom, questioning their commitment to ending payola in radio. The letter was prompted by the FMC's accusations against CC.