July 23, 2005

Sony BMG near settlement over radio tactics – NYT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York state's attorney general and
Sony BMG Music Entertainment are close to a settlement over
accusations that the record company giant used improper tactics
to influence radio programmers to play its music, The New York
Times reported on Saturday.

Citing people involved in the discussions between Attorney
General Eliot Spitzer and Sony BMG, whose current big-sellers
include Foo Fighters, Kelly Clarkson and System of a Down, the
newspaper reported that an agreement was expected to be
announced on Monday, although its sources said the talk could
still break down.

Sony BMG, one of the big four music labels, is a joint
venture between Japan's Sony Corp. and Germany's Bertelsmann AG

The settlement could provide a blueprint for agreement
between Spitzer and three other major record companies that
have also been subpoenaed, including the Universal Music Group,
a unit of Vivendi Universal ; Britain's EMI Group Plc ; and
Warner Music Group, the Times said.

Among the settlement's components as reported by the Times

-- Sony BMG is expected to admit to misconduct in its radio
promotion practices and agree to changes that would limit
attempts to influence airplay, such as ending its use of
independent promoters who are paid to lobby programmers to play
new songs;

-- Sony BMG would likely end payments to stations to
broadcast songs often in order to raise a work's place on
airplay charts;

-- The company is expected to pay a multimillion dollar

Spitzer's office declined comment on a settlement, the
newspaper said.