SoundExchange Signals Rate Increase Fight Ahead. Digital Music Royalty Battle Reignites
The battle over digital music royalties has begun again. The U.S. Copyright Royalty Judges have opened a new proceeding to set the statutory rates for 2013-2017 with a decision expected by the end of 2012. In recent weeks, Sirus XM has reportedly been talking to record labels and other rights holders about direct licensing. At the same time, in a move that could affect digital music providers beyond Sirius, SoundExchange has signaled they will push for much higher payments.
"We have long been preparing for this proceeding, and are planning to seek a substantial increase in the statutory rate" said SounExchange in a statement. "In other words, we plan to seek rates well in excess of the 2012 rate of 8%." How much higher? "The Judges actually concluded that the appropriate “market rate” was 13% — but, based on what the Judges believed to be Sirius’s and XM’s precarious financial positions at that time (2007), they adjusted the rate downward to the current levels," according to the satellite radio provider.
Things have changed, according to SoundExchange: "SiriusXM – with its monopoly power in the satellite radio marketplace – has been announcing unprecedented earnings and profits."