Clear Channel, Fleetwood Mac Sign Groundbreaking Performance Royalties Deal

The media giant teams with the legendary band for a first-of-its-kind profit-sharing relationship.

Clear Channel Media & Entertainment has cut a deal to pay performance royalties to Fleetwood Mac for songs from its recently released “Extend Play” EP that are broadcast on its 850 terrestrial radio stations. According to Clear Channel, it’s the first rights partnership between a radio company and an artist.

“Reaching an agreement with [Fleetwood Mac] is the clearest sign yet that this kind of revenue-sharing model represents the industry’s future -- it is a win-win-win, for artists, fans and the music business,” said Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman in a statement.  “We look forward to helping Fleetwood Mac get their hit songs to their fans on whatever platform or device they want to find them.”

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The deal may be the first with an artist, but Clear Channel already has cut deals with 11 indie labels: Big Machine Label Group, Glassnote Entertainment Group, eOne, DashGo, Robbins Entertainment, Naxos, rpm Entertainment, Wind-up Records, Fearless Records, Zojak Records and Dualtone Records.

While the U.S. music industry has long sought performance royalties for master rights owners and artists -- something which is paid in most other countries -- it has never achieved that right in the U.S. The closest the industry has come was in 2010 when at the behest of Congress, record labels and radio station negotiated such a performance right and royalty, but those talks broke down and the legislation wasn’t enacted before the session ended. In 2012, Clear Channel began negotiating such deals, first with Big Machine, in exchange for predictable, reduced rates for its digital radio service, iHeartRadio.

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Fleetwood Mac has consistently pushed the envelope -- creating new sounds, making music that seems designed for radio and looking at the industry in new ways,” said Fleetwood Mac representative Azoff Music Management head honcho Irving Azoff, who is also on the Clear Channel board of directors. “It’s fitting that a group that’s played such an integral role in radio and music history would be the first band to take such a major step -- helping the music industry create a sustainable digital marketplace so it can thrive for decades to come. We’re delighted to join Clear Channel in creating a new model for the music industry one that will be good for performing artists, good for music fans, and good for the people who have invested their talent, time and money.”

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