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Why Live Nation’s Chairman of the Board Should Resign (Opinion)

Holding a dual role at SiriusXM Radio constitutes a conflict of interest for executive Greg Maffei, argues attorney and Music Modernization Act advocate Dina LaPolt.

When an executive holds dual and competing roles as the Chairman of the Board of both Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. and SiriusXM Holdings, Inc. that presents a giant conflict of interest. Greg Maffei is showing on which side his allegiance lies.

How is this a conflict of interest?

Live Nation is the largest producer of live musical concerts in the world, a company founded on supporting and promoting artists, musicians, and songwriters, from which many draw their livelihood. On the other hand, SiriusXM, the satellite radio service provider, leverages the hard work of artists and songwriters for its own benefit without paying just compensation.

Now, let me tell you about what Chairman of the Board Greg Maffei has been doing this week. He and paid lobbyists acting at his direction have been openly trolling members on Capitol Hill actively trying to kill the Music Modernization Act (MMA), which is the first meaningful piece of copyright legislation in decades that is meant to protect songwriters and artists. There is only one possible explanation why he would do this: so that SiriusXM does not have to pay fair compensation to music creators. Specifically, they are trying to kill the bill because of the CLASSICS provision. This provision would require SiriusXM to actually pay royalties to legacy artists whose recordings were made prior to 1972. They are also opposing provisions allowing songwriters to receive better compensation from all digital services. As Mitch Glazier, President of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said, SiriusXM “want[s] to deny songwriters the chance to make a case for better rates in court.”

The MMA unanimously passed the House of Representatives and currently has 76 co-sponsors in the Senate, representing overwhelming bipartisan support.  Plus, the entire music industry has voiced its resounding support for the MMA, including music creators, record labels, music publishers, public performance rights organizations, digital service providers, AND the National Association of Broadcasters, all of which support the MMA because they know that its passage will provide enormous benefits to the music industry as a whole; all save for one: SiriusXM.

As Chairman of the Board of LiveNation, Greg Maffei is supposed to be one of our champions, helping us look out for artists, but his actions are really egregious. Live Nation’s mission statement reads: “Our core business is producing, marketing and selling live concerts for artists.”

Instead, he is actively working against artists. SiriusXM claims they have been paying pre-1972 artists voluntarily. This is an outright lie. Mandatory settlement payments for a short period of time to pre-1972 artists after losing a lawsuit for refusing to pay them while they continue to fight in court and against our legislation that would ensure payment to legacy artists is certainly not a “voluntary” payment.

This stance is diametrically opposed to Greg Maffei’s duties to protect artists in his position as Chairman of the Board of Live Nation. Mr. Maffei is supporting his business interests as Chairman of the Board of SiriusXM to the detriment of the artists he is supposed to protect as Chairman of the Board of Live Nation.

It’s time for Maffei to resign as Chairman of the Board of Live Nation.

Dina LaPolt, Esq. is the owner of LaPolt Law, P.C., a boutique transactional entertainment law firm based in Los Angeles that specializes in representing music creators. In addition to practicing law, LaPolt is the attorney advisor to Songwriters of N. American (SONA) and is an activist for the broader music community in Washington, D.C., often becoming involved in legislative matters that affect the rights of her clients and advocating on their behalf.

Read more about the Music Modernization Act here.

Editors Note: Representatives for Live Nation told Variety that Maffei would not immediately comment on the conflict of interest issue.

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