DID CLEAR CHANNEL PUNISH BRITNEY SPEARS?

Congressman Alleges Radio Retaliation Against Music Stars

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- A congressman today asked the Justice Department to look into allegations that Clear Channel Communications refused to play music and "buried" concert ads of recording stars, including Britney Spears, who didn't use its promotional services.

U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman, D-Calif., said he is concerned about growing "integration" in the radio, TV and concert promotion industry.

Clear Channel is the largest radio and out-of-home media company in the country. It owns radio stations and outdoor boards in addition to its entertainment venue, Clear Channel Entertainment.

Promotional services
In a letter to the Justice Department, Rep. Berman wrote, "It has been reported that Clear Channel has 'punished' recording artists including Britney Spears for their refusal to use its concert promotion service, Clear Channel Entertainment, by 'burying' radio ads for their concerts and by refusing to play their songs on its radio stations."

In the letter, Rep. Berman warned that if the allegations are true, there would be "negative implications for consumers."

"The consolidation of the radio industry also lends growing support to persistent allegations that record companies often must pay radio stations to play the music of their artists."

Rep. Berman said he has also asked the Federal Communications Commission to look at whether Clear Channel illegally holds too many radio properties to comply with commission ownership limits.

In a statement, Clear Channel said that it "competes aggressively, fairly and totally within the law. If there is an investigation, we are confident this will continue to be proven true."

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