The Turtles have filed a lawsuit against SiriusXM, alleging the satcaster owes the group at least $100 million in performance royalties. The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of the band’s founding members.
The Wall Street Journal reports federal law protects recordings made since 1972 and state law protects prior recordings, according to Turtles lead attorney Henry Gradstein.
AM/FM broadcasters are exempt from paying performance royalties because artists receive exposure from airplay and station events that has, historically, translated to music sales.
SiriusXM and digital music services do pay music royalties. Two years ago, SiriusXM stopped reporting pre-1972 songs from the log the satcaster gave SoundExchange, so the royalty distributor stopped paying out on those. Older artists like the Turtles are now starting to feel the impact of that change, according to the account.
SiriusXM declined to comment on the suit, which seeks class action status.