How Serious Is That Sirius XM ‘Flo & Eddie’ Settlement?


On Nov. 16 RBR + TVBR told you that Sirius XM Holdings and 1960s pop band The Turtles agreed to settle a long-running class action lawsuit over pre-1972 recordings with a resolution that applies only to California.

What wasn’t reported at the time was just how much money was involved in the settlement.

According to Reuters, Sirius may pay close to $100 million to the founding members of The Turtles, Flo & Eddie (a.k.a. Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan), and other rights holders named in the claim, as restitution for the airing of the pre-1972 songs over several Sirius XM satellite radio channels.

Terms of the proposed lawsuit were disclosed in a Nov. 28 filing with a Los Angeles-based Federal court.

A copy was obtained by Reuters, which says Sirius agreed to $25 million and $40 million in past royalty payments, depending on the outcomes of similar cases in other states, including New York.  Sirius XM will also finalize a 10-year license agreement said to be valued between $45.5 million and $59.2 million.

The settlement accounts for the airplay on Sirius XM channels of all pre-1972 songs heard since August 2009.

U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez must approve the settlement for Flo & Eddie and the other plaintiffs to cash in.

The settlement absolves Sirius XM of any wrongdoing; Gutierrez found Sirius liable under California law in September 2014, and this trial would have covered damages owed to Flo & Eddie and the others.

The settlement comes after Sirius in June 2015 said it would pay five major record labels $210 million to settle a pre-1972 airplay lawsuit.

RBR + TVBR OBSERVATION: Sirius-ly … $99.2 million for a band that broke up in 1970 and has two really awesome songs to its name? Not bad for a band that wouldn’t be known were it not for Los Angeles radio stations KRLA and KFWB, and a cover of a Bob Dylan tune. After scoring with “Happy Together” and “She’d Rather Be With Me,” Flo & Eddie went on to record with Frank Zappa and sang backing vocals on T. Rex’s “Get It On (Bang a Gong).” In the 1970s, the two launched a syndicated radio show originating from Metromedia’s KMET-FM in L.A. In the 1980s, they had radio shows on KROQ-FM in Los Angeles and WXRK-FM in New York. If it wasn’t for radio, would these influential rock and roll veterans be relevant today? Thanks for letting radio make you famous, Flo & Eddie. Hope you enjoy the millions and millions of dollars AM and FM radio is directly responsible for.


  1. Flo & Eddie do not make out nearly as well as you fear. The amount that SiriusXM is paying for its past “wrongdoing” in not paying performance royalties on pre-1972 recordings is 25 to 40 million as described above.

    This money is divided among all the artists that the attorneys of Flo & Eddie contacted who consented to join the class. As I read the settlement document, Flo & Eddie receive only $25,000 each, in addition to their share of the unpaid royalties, for being the lead plaintiffs who commenced the lawsuit on behalf of the other artists. And in reality, the way class action lawsuits work, Flo & Eddie’s attorneys are going to scoop up a quarter to a third of the settlement amount right off the top. In successful class action suits, it’s the plaintiffs’ attorneys who are the actual winners.

    The future royalties that Sirius agreed to pay they would have had to pay anyway, and probably at a much higher rate then was set in this settlement.

    Flo & Eddie, if they did not push for the settlement were at least happy to see it. They were becoming victims of the glacial pace at which litigation moves through the court system. This case, already three years old, was just entering a lengthy jury trial. After the trial result, then the case would have gone up on appeal which would have consumed another one or two years.

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