SiriusXM has more than 60 direct royalty deals at rates lower than CRB

Paul Maloney
December 18, 2012 - 1:30pm

During testimony in the recent royalty determinations (see yesterday's RAIN here), SiriusXM reportedly revealed it has secured "direct content licenses" with more than 60 labels, giving them even broader use rights at rates below those set by the Copyright Royalty Board.

Digital Music News reports SiriusXM will pay 5%-7% of its gross revenues for these licenses, covering more than 7,000 artists, 9,000 albums, and 110,000 songs (there were no reported details of how specifically the use of the licensed music is broader than is allowed by the statutory license).

These agreements are actual, real-world settlements between active players in the music rights market. As such, these deals (both the rates and expanded allowable uses of the music) will likely be cited in arguments against music industry interests who claim the CRB-determined rates for satellite radio (and webcasting, for that matter) are "below market value." It isn't clear whether the more favorable terms of these direct deals tempered the CRB's decision

As we reported yesterday, the CRB set sound recording royalties for satellite radio at 9% of gross revenue in 2013, increasing 0.5% each year (to 11% in 2017). Billboard estimates SiriusXM will pay between $1.02 billion and $1.22 billion in statutory royalties to SoundExchange from 2013 to 2017.

Hypebot reports SoundExchange pressed the CRB for satellite radio royalties that increased to 20% of gross revenue by 2017 (DMN says "one resident expert" pushed for 30%), calling the CRB rates "below market."

Last month industry attorney David Oxenford reported that much of the discussion in the rate-setting's oral arguments phase "focused on the value of music in a marketplace -– essentially the 'willing buyer, willing seller' question." Currently, the law mandates that the rate-setting for royalties for these media is to be governed by the "801(b)" standard (which the record industry has argued does not reflect fair market value) (RAIN coverage here).

In March Sirius XM filed a lawsuit against SoundExchange and the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), accusing the record industry organziations of interfering with its efforts to directly license sound recordings. The complaint accuses SoundExchange and A2IM of being in violation of federal antitrust law, and New York state law (RAIN coverage here).

Digital Music News coverage is here. Read Hypebot here. Read Billboard coverage here.

Paul Maloney
December 18, 2012 - 1:30pm

Nielsen and Twitter have forged a deal to create the "Nielsen Twitter TV ratings" to measure the total audience for social TV activity on the social media platform. Couple that with today's news that Nielsen is buying radio ratings leader Arbitron, and smart folks like Tom Taylor begin to ask, "Can radio be far behind?"

There's no real indication of such a development yet, but it's not hard to imageine that "a new radio morning show could be 'trending,' one of these days," suggests Taylor. Read more from him today here.

Read about Twitter TV ratings at LostRemote here and GigaOm here.

Paul Maloney
December 18, 2012 - 1:30pm

Industry news source Radio Ink has announced it is accepting nominations for the 2013 Radio Ink Digital Awards.

The awards are open to companies, stations, streams, and websites in seven categories. Nominations close January 21, and Radio Ink will announce winners at its Convergence 2013 in March.

Make your nominations here.