Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I'm supposed to pay for what??

Orbitcast has reported that Sirius XM Satellite subscribers may be asked to pay an additional $2 per month due to the proposed royalty rate increase. Say what?

The story went on to claim that the FCC allowed Sirius XM to pass these royalty fees along to the consumer as part of last year's merger.

Let me get this straight. First the merger wasn't supposed to raise the fees for subscribers yet offer additional combined programming. Yet, as a Sirius subscriber for more than 3 years, I now would have to pay additional to get baseball and other XM programming. Even though I personally was looking forward to having the baseball broadcasts available, I'm not paying anything extra for it. It was not my understanding that I would have had to, or I would have written in opposition of the merger from which I am not benefitting.

Now, I may be FORCED to pay additional for music royalties? I rarely listen to their music channels. Even if I did, I don't listen to all of them. I doubt that people who enjoy classical music also listen to heavy metal. But they expect me to pay so they can play songs I don't like? After they have eliminated channels because of the merger and some duplication?

Yet some people wonder why satellite radio has been struggling the past few months. It is not because of the drop in new car sales. If the offering was good enough, and was what was promised to us consumers, new subscriptions would be happening. Hardly anyone is buying HD Radios, which even with a few recent improvements, doesn't offer enough of an incentive even to those who understand what HD Radio is and does.

Now I might be "forced" to pay for music that I don't even like????

Yes, I agree that performers should be compensated for their music being played in a public forum. But if I am supposed to pay for it, I should have the choice over which songs and artists I hear.

Come to think of it, I already do. Looks like my MP3 player will get an even longer daily use before too long.

If only AM and FM stations would have kept up quality live and local programming like they used to do. We wouldn't know HD or satellite radio because we wouldn't have needed it.

hough Sirius XM is unable to officially raise its rates yet, as a condition of the satellite radio merger, Orbitcast reports that subscribers could see some additionally fees starting this summer. Subscribers will likely see their bill go up approximately $2 a month, as satellite radio music royalty rate increases will be passed along to the consumer.

According to Orbitcast's sources, the increase in costs will take effect on July 29 and according to a leaked document, Sirius XM "can no longer absorb these increased costs" in performance royalties. In 2007, the Copyright Royalty Board instituted increased performance royalty rates for satellite radio, which have gone up every year and will continue to increase into 2012. The rate increased from six percent of gross revenue in '07 and '08 to 6.5 percent this year. It will reach seven percent in 2010, 7.5 percent in 2011 and eight percent in 2012.

As part of the Sirius and XM merger, the FCC allowed the combined satcaster to pass along the royalty fees, effective July 29, 2009, whereas the company was required to absorb the fees itself before this date. According to Orbitcast's information, most subscribers will be charged an extra $1.98/month, while those with multiple radio plans with be charged another 97 cents/month and "Mostly Music" subscribers will pay $1.53/month. However, "Best Of Sirius" and "Best Of XM" subscribers are exempt, as are subscribers who renew a long-term plan before July 29.

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