SiriusXM subscribers can stream MLB games online, through smartphones

Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 11:45am

MLBJust in time for Opening Day, SiriusXM has announced that its subscribers can stream live radio coverage of every Major League Baseball game on smartphones and online. "With this agreement, SiriusXM becomes the Official Internet Radio Partner of," the company's press release states.

SiriusXM also broadcasts coverage of MLB games via satellite, and offers live radio coverage through its own subscription packages.

Find SiriusXM's press release here.

Lawsuit against SoundExchange could gain much for SiriusXM, broadcasters, webcasters with little risk

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - 11:10am

Kevin GoldbergIn the upcoming legal battle between SiriusXM and SoundExchange, the satellite radio broadcaster (along with broadcasters and others) has everything to gain, while SoundExchange and the CRB face potentially serious set-backs. So argues Kevin Goldberg, Special Counsel at Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, in the CommLawBlog.

Last week news broke that SiriusXM had sued SoundExchange and the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), accusing the record industry organziations of interfering with its efforts to directly license the sound recordings (find RAIN's coverage here).

The eventual outcome of the lawsuit aside, Goldberg (pictured) says SiriusXM "made the right play... litigation is expensive, but not as expensive as the $200 million in royalties that SiriusXM claims to have paid last year," he writes. "Add in the fact that a victory would not only reduce that expense, but also afford SiriusXM more flexibility in future negotiations and the ability to innovate."

Moreover, broadcasters (and, RAIN would add, webcasters) stand to "reap the benefits" of SiriusXM's lawsuit "without any effort." Goldberg echoes Davis Wright Tremaine partner David Oxenford (RAIN coverage here) in reasoning that SiriusXM's direct licensing deals "would provide important concrete data – possibly the only such data – regarding the value of a digitally transmitted sound recording" in future CRB royalty hearings for both SiriusXM and broadcasters.

"This would be especially important if the broadcasters’ own worst case scenario – enactment of the Performance Rights Act – were to occur," writes Goldberg.

The outlook is less rosy for SoundExchange. The royalty collection agency faces, at the very least, a long and expensive legal battle, Goldberg argues. At worst, it could face "possible dismantling... or the imposition of some limiting consent decree... or the forced introduction of a competitor receiving agent."

Quote from Goldberg

The lawsuit may also "be enough to rethink the entire regime" of the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), writes Goldberg. "From allowing SoundExchange to exist without competition to siding with SoundExchange on virtually every contested fact in the 2007 Webcasting II decision (and many other ratemaking proceedings), the CRB may have created the environment that allowed questionable, if not illegal, activity to flourish."

The constitutionality of the CRB and its appointment process have been repeatedly questioned and challenged in the past (RAIN coverage here, here, here and here).

But who wins or loses this particular lawsuit may be "beside the point," says Goldberg. "The mere initiation of the case may represent an early tremor signaling the onset of a seismic event, an event that would likely, one way or another, fundamentally affect all the players."

You can find Goldberg's extensive analysis and explanation of the SiriusXM lawsuit against SoundExchange and A2IM here.

Oxenford: SiriusXM's direct licensing deals could affect future CRB Internet radio rulings

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 12:45pm

David OxenfordThe outcome of SiriusXM's lawsuit against SoundExchange and A2IM may be "very important to the future of digital music" -- webcasters included -- according to industry attorney and Davis Wright Tremaine partner David Oxenford (pictured).

The direct licenses SiriusXM has been trying to obtain could impact future CRB rulings, Oxenford writes, as such deals "between music users and rights holders are traditionally the best evidence of the value of music." That's a good reason why SoundExchange and A2IM would oppose such direct deals, says Oxenford.

He writes:

"Were SiriusXM to be successful in its suit, and if it is in fact able to negotiate direct music licenses for substantial catalogs of music at rates lower than what it has paid under previous rate decisions, it would presumably introduce such evidence in proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Board (which is now in the process of setting the rates for the public performance of sound recordings by SiriusXM over its satellite service for the next 5 years), and argue that these direct deals are the best evidence of what a willing buyer and willing seller would agree to in a competitive marketplace."

But direct licensing deals between SiriusXM and rights holders could also impact future Internet radio royalty rate decisions.

"One of the biggest issues in all rate proceedings heard before the CRB has been establishing what a willing buyer and willing seller would agree to pay in a competitive marketplace like the one for which the rates are being set," writes Oxenford. "In most cases, as there are no direct licenses, the CRB has to extrapolate what willing buyers and willing sellers would pay for sound recording performance royalties in a noninteractive market from evidence of what companies pay in other markets...

Davis Wright Tremaine"Lower direct licensing rate could impact not only the rates paid by SiriusXM, but also other proceedings dealing with the sound recording royalty rate, including potentially proceedings for webcasting royalties (proceedings that will also affect the rates that broadcasters pay for streaming their signals)."

The next CRB proceeding for Internet radio begins in 2014 to set royalty rates for 2016-2020.

You can find Oxenford's full analysis of the SiriusXM lawsuit at the Broadcast Law Blog here.

Oxenford will interview U.S. Copyright Office General Counsel David Carson on-stage at RAIN Summit West 2012 in Las Vegas, on Sunday, April 15. You can find out more here.

SiriusXM chief: Personalized radio coming, mobile monetization difficult

Friday, February 10, 2012 - 11:25am

SiriusXM chief Mel Karmazin"Personalized radio" is coming later this year from SiriusXM, said CEO Mel Karmazin during a quarterly call. So is "on-demand" content. But he still views Internet radio as "not a game-changer" and says AM/FM radio "is still our biggest competitor, by far."

We've heard Karmazin hint about a personalized radio service before, ranging from August 2011 (RAIN coverage here) to just last January (here). Such an offering would be part of the satellite broadcaster's new 2.0 service, which launched in October 2011 (more here).

Karmazin also spoke to the difficulty of monetizing mobile audience -- an oft-raised concern as mobile takes a larger share of web radio listening. "There's just too much supply out there," he said. "It puts the power in the buyer of advertising."

You can find more coverage in today's Taylor on Radio-Info newsletter here.

CEO says satellite radio service will offer Pandora-like feature by year's end

Monday, January 9, 2012 - 9:00am

SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin has reportedly indicated that SiriusXM will launch its own Pandora-style personalized streaming audio service, likely within the coming year, according to RBR. Karmazin spoke at the Citi Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference in San Francisco last week.

Karmazin spoke of adding personalization as part of the Sirius 2.0 features at least as early as November of 2010 (see RAIN coverage here). By summer, CNet reported the personalizable service would be available in some cars by 2013 (more here).

"I can assure you that if our subscribers would like to have personalization we’re going to give it to them," Karmazin told conference attendees, as reported by RBR. "So, you should assume, you know, that the idea of personalization is something that Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio and Slacker and all of these companies are doing. There is satellite radio and it will expand and make that personalization available, probably this year. I don’t think it’s a big deal. We’re not going into it as a business. We, again, like our business model. But we’re going into it saying, you know what, if our subscribers like that feature and they want to be able to customize content, we’re going to give them the ability to do that."

Read RBR's coverage here.

RAIN: Radio And Internet Newsletter is brought to you by: Kurt Hanson, Executive Editor; Paul Maloney, Senior Editor; Michael Schmitt, Associate Editor; Jim Pavilack, Contributing Writer; Jennifer Lane, RAIN Summits President.

SiriusXM debuts Android-powered 2.0 radio receiver Lynx

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - 11:00am

SiriusXM's new 2.0 receiver, the LynxSiriusXM has officially launched its second receiver capable of taking advantage of the satellite radio broadcaster's new 2.0 service.

The Lynx offers a large touch screen display, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, runs on Android and is compatible with docks for cars and home stereos. It costs $250.

Because the device sports Wi-Fi, SiriusXM says it can tune into the company's Internet radio offerings. It can also rewind programming up to 5 hours, display album art, artist biographies and other information. The Lynx can also store up to 200 hours of programming, features "dynamic" presets and a show finder that displays programming for the next 7 days.

That's in addition to the 2.0 features we saw with the SiriusXM Edge (more here), which include the ability to rewind to the beginning of the currently-playing song or program and other DVR-like controls. SiriusXM 2.0 also boasts 20 new channels, including a dozen that make up the new SiriusXM Latino section. 

If the Lynx looks familiar, it's because the device was leaked several times in late 2011. Once by the FCC in October (here) and then again later by Best Buy.

The real promise of the Lynx is the ability to update via Wi-Fi. "Lynx will offer even more options to manage our exclusive and expertly curated content through future software updates," said SiriusXM. That's good news, as there are "additional programming and expanded listener capabilities" coming in the months ahead.

You can find more from SiriusXM's press release here and from Engadget here.

SiriusXM 2.0 was launched in October (RAIN coverage here) with the SiriusXM Edge receiver. In December SiriusXM updated its iPhone and iPad apps with the 2.0 features (coverage here).

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