Karmazin: Lynx to include on-demand and time-shifting capabilities

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 12:25pm

SiriusXM's coming 2.0 Lynx receiverSiriusXM grew its profits and subscriber base in Q3, the satellite radio broadcaster revealed in today's earnings call, while CEO Mel Karmazin offered more details about the coming 2.0 Lynx radio receiver.

The company saw a 54% gain in Q3 net profit, reaching $104.2 million after growing revenues by 6%. SiriusXM has cut programming and content expenses by 20% since the companies merged, according to Karmazin. (It hopes to reduce such costs further with direct licensing deals to avoid SoundExchange, more coverage here and here.)

SiriusXM now has 21.4 million subscribers, a new record high. The company gained more than 333,000 new subscribers in Q3, though that rate of growth is down compared to last year.

Finally, Karmazin discussed the yet-to-be-released, Android-powered Lynx radio (more coverage here). The 2.0 receiver will include on-demand music and talk programming and will be able to record up to 200 hours of content for later playback. Karmazin said the Lynx should be released before the end of the year.

Lynx will be one of the first devices to use SiriusXM's new 2.0 service, which includes more channels and will apparently eventually include personalization features (more here).

The CEO also mentioned that "he is not concerned that customers will defect to free Internet radio rivals," according to Reuters, even after SiriusXM raises prices at the beginning of 2012.

You can find more on the story from Reuters here and here.

AFTRA, AFL, SoundExchange react to SiriusXM's direct licensing plans

Friday, October 28, 2011 - 11:30am

Buzz surrounding SiriusXM's direct licensing efforts has heated up lately, with new statements from artist labor groups and SoundExchange.

In early August news broke that SiriusXM was seeking to license the sound recordings it plays directly from the copyright owners (record labels). Direct licenses would not only cut SoundExchange out, but copyright owners would not have the same legal obligation to share the royalty revenue with performers that's required under the "statutory" license created by the DMCA (RAIN coverage here).


Thus, SiriusXM could reduce the fees they pay for music and the copyright owners, no longer obligated to share with performers, could keep more.

Two labor groups -- the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and the American Federation of Musicians (AFL) -- have come out against the move, calling it "blatantly anti-artist." SiriusXM is trying to "lower the rates for music," the groups state (here). The Recording Academy's president/CEO Neil Portnow also sent a letter to members encouraging independent labels not to directly license with SiriusXM.


SoundExchange also posted a message to its website. The non-profit royalty collection agency points out that Music Reports Inc. (MRI) -- the company SiriusXM is using to try to obtain direct licensing deals -- aims to obtain licenses "at the lowest possible cost." SoundExchange openly pushes in the other direction, the post states (here).

SiriusXM currently pays 7.5% of its revenues to SoundExchange for satellite radio performance royalties (it pays additional, different royalties for its Internet radio broadcasts, more here). In 2012 the rate increases to 8% of revenues. (By comparison, pureplay webcasters like Pandora pay the greater of 25% of total revenues or, in 2011, $0.00102 per listener, per song; more here). Such rates are set by the Copyright Royalty Board.

SiriusXM 2.0 will reportedly include on-demand features

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 10:00am

SiriusXM's LynxSiriusXM officially announced its new 2.0 service earlier this week (RAIN coverage here), along with a new receiver. That device wasn't the Android-powered, Wi-Fi enabled Lynx (pictured) that was earlier leaked by the FCC and Best Buy (more coverage here).

Now another online store, My Radio Store, has the Lynx listed (here; though currently "Out of stock"). Among the features listed: "On-demand listening...listen live, record your favorite shows for later listening, or access on-demand episodes of your favorite SiriusXM shows."

Satellite Radio Playground has more coverage here.

Upgrade includes 20 new channels, pause/rewind capabilities

Monday, October 17, 2011 - 11:10am

SiriusXM's new 2.0 radio, EdgeSiriusXM today officially announced their new 2.0 service. The upgrade includes 20 new channels -- 12 of which make up the new SiriusXM Latino section -- and pause/rewind capabilities.

There's no word in SiriusXM's announcement about the personalization features CEO Mel Karmazin teased nearly a year ago (RAIN coverage here). However, the company promises that "additional programming and expanded listener capabilities will be announced in coming months."

The new 2.0 services are available through SiriusXM's Internet radio apps and on the new SiriusXM Edge (pictured) -- a dockable $140 device with a color screen. Edge allows users to pause and rewind up to 30 minutes. Find it at Sirius XM's store here.

Note that this isn't the Lynx, the 2.0 SiriusXM radio "outed" by the FCC (more here). That device includes a touchscreen, Wi-Fi connectivity and looks significantly different (according to a picture leaked by Best Buy over the weekend, more here). Lynx also apparently runs on Android.

You can find SiriusXM's press release about 2.0 here and more details about the 20 new channels here.

FCC website spills the beans on details of new SiriusXM 2.0 device

Friday, October 14, 2011 - 11:00am

This week the website DigitalRadioMag revealed details of the first new SiriusXM 2.0 hardware it says was "outed" by a test report and label information posted on the FCC's website. While nothing hereSiriusXM 2.0 points to the "Pandora-like personalization features" that were teased in August (here), Forbes and are now reporting some of what was revealed to the FCC.

The project is apparently codenamed "Lynx." The new radio features "universal docking capability," which was characterized on the FCC website (presumably by SiriusXM itself) as "add accessories for your home, office, additional vehicles or even outdoors." This apparently means "portability," in that you can listen to the unit in the car, then pull it out of the dash and bring it outside or in your home or office to listen. The SiriusXM PowerConnect FM Transmitter wirelessly connects the unit via FM to the car's radio receiver.

The new radio can connect to content via satellite (naturally), but also WiFi, Bluetooth, and USB -- attributes this as "likely a response to the growth of Internet radio stations, HD radio and the use of smartphones and tablets."

DigitalRadioMag also noticed an Immersion logo in a diagram of the inside of the unit, indicating the radio will likely feature Haptic Touchscreen Technology made by that company. Finally, the appearance of the unit and its interface (backlight color theme, the "trim ring") can be personalized.

The new SiriusXM 2.0 system is expected to be officially launched this quarter. Read more from Forbes here, here, and DigitalRadioMag here.

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