Is SiriusXM Trying to Thwart MMA?


    To date, The Music Modernization Act has the support of about 70 United States Senators, clearly enough to pass the bill. With government, of course, anything can happen. And, a lot of times, nothing happens. Being that this bill appears to have been changed by the Senate, the House would have to take up the measure again, and with mid-terms creeping up, that could mean further delay. Plus, Sirius XM Radio appears to be trying to block the bill — and their CEO blames radio.

    Sirius XM CEO Jim Meyer has promised to fight the MMA because he says it gives radio an unfair advantage. He says the Act fails to address serious royalty exemptions for radio. The Satelite company does not get the same exemptions as radio and he says that’s not fair. Meyer says he’ll fight the Act until that issue is addressed. And that doesn’t sit well with National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) president David Israelite who used his Twitter account go off on Meyer earlier this week. Digital Music News was first to report on Israelite’s tweets calling Meyer’s arguments ‘pure b*&^%t,’ ‘patronizing,’ and ‘disingenuous.’

    It appears Meyer is hoping to delay a vote on the MMA until after the elections when, of course, everything could change in Washington, including what bills get on the active docket.

    In a Billboard Op-Ed Meyer said, It’s bad public policy to make a royalty obligation distinction between terrestrial radio and satellite radio.” He added, it’s not like radio can’t afford to pay recording artists. “Nobody makes more money from recorded music than the $14 billion radio industry. Radio revenue blows away that earned by competitors like SiriusXM ($5.4 billion) and online streaming services ($6.2 billion in total). Music radio revenue has risen by nearly $40 million since 2013 and the number of music stations has increased every year for the past five years . . . if radio wants to have rules that reflect the music industry of today then that should apply across the board.”

    The NAB supports the bill which it says, “provides a consensus solution to music licensing issues facing songwriters, music publishers, and on-demand streaming services.”

    Here are the key provisions in the legislation:
    – The Act creates a blanket licensing system to quickly license and pay for musical work copyrights.
    – It discourages music litigation that generates legal settlements in favor of simply ensuring that artists and copyright owners are paid in the first place without such litigation.
    – Ends the flawed U.S. Copyright Office bulk notice of intent system that allows royalties to not be paid.
    – Implements uniform rate-setting standards to be used by the Copyright Royalty Board for all music services.
    – Shifts the costs of the new licensing collective created by the bill to the licensees.
    – Updates how certain rate court cases are assigned in the Southern District of New York.
    – The Act also provides a public performance right for pre-1972 recordings.
    – And the Act ensures that record producers, sound engineers, and other creative professionals receive compensation for their work.

    The House of Representatives unanimously passed the bill, 415-0.


    1. Thats true. John rzeznik is part of a large theft of lyrics and he is hosting the talk show wtf???? Someone needs to contact the girl they stole the lyrics from if they want a real story

    2. This, from a company who tried to double an acquantence’s bill (from 120/yr to 245/yr). Here’s the difference between terrestrial and satellite. Terrestrial radio MADE the hits. From the start, radio’s airplay provided tons of promotional exposure. Almost any song you know from the 40’s through 2001, you only know because you heard it on the radio. And the record companies made bank from it all.

      Meantime, satellite didn’t come along till 2001. Yet they are playing all the same music radio already established. They’re USING the music that radio made famous. They SHOULD be paying for it’s use. They should be paying a lot more than they do.

      Radio did all the hard work for over 60 years. Satellite takes advantage of that, then decides it’s not fair? Gimme a break…

      • Are you kidding me? “Radio did all the hard work for over 60 years.” What else could music radio stations do except play music. There used to be frequent scandals where record labels or artists bribed disc jockeys to play a song.
        The villain here is simply the powerful National Association of Broadcasters lobby. Like the NRA, they have great influence over how campaign funds are distributed, and they can dispense other valuable favors to members of Congress.

    3. “It’s bad public policy to make a royalty obligation distinction between terrestrial radio and satellite radio.”

      This is coming from a company that has a monopoly in the satellite radio space. The royalty obligation is in the law. The law was designed to compensate labels for lost sales due to digital media. Broadcast radio is not digital, and it is prevented from becoming a truly digital medium by law. That’s really all that needs to be said here. The fact is satellite pays a different rate than streaming radio. Satellite pays a different rate than internet radio. And the key thing to note is that no one pays songwriters more money than broadcast radio. That’s really what this new law is about: Songwriters.

      • This debate will not be continuing for many years. Cumulus, the second largest owner of analog AM/FM radio stations, was in bankruptcy last year and emerged, but is expected to re-enter bankruptcy next year.
        The largest owner, iHeartMedia, formerly Clear Channel is in bankruptcy now and is supposed to come out with its two billion dollars in debt cut to one billion.

        It’s not radio’s fault that the stations are failing. They had a good run and technology finally passed them by. Some day the same will happen to streaming, but for now this is its time. The strongest traditional radio stations will (and already are) converting to streaming, but most will just die.

        • To redirect back to the topic, any AM or FM stations that stream pay digital royalties just like Sirius XM, which is why Meyer’s objection is moot.

    4. Sirius/XM radio provides a variety of quality content that users are willing to pay for. Most commercial broadcast radio is unlistenable. There are certainly exceptions but in general, the formulaic crap on terrestrial music radio is a fail. I am however concerned about lack of competition in the satellite space, and lack of a diversity of voices.

    5. Satellite Radio is a pure money grab. They use the same content as broadcasters and provide nothing more than music. Broadcasters have greater responsibilities in their communities and need to compete for shrinking advertising dollars, due in part to satellite “juke boxes” decimating their audiences.

      • Nothing more than music? That’s total BS. I listen to XM because I get intelligent discussion about the music on channels like E Street Radio. Terrestrial radio is for automatons.

    6. XM/Sirius has subscription money coming in every month. We have to go out everyday & convince folks to buy time. From a shrinking pool of advertisers.


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