Sirius XM Agrees to Pay Indies $3.6 Million

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Sirius XM Radio has now agreed to pay the indie label community $3.6 million, according to settlement details shared with Digital Music News on Monday.

That concludes a substantial class action, and follows a number of major label out-of-court settlements.

More accurately, this case involves XM Satellite Radio, though post-merger, this is now one big family of liability.  But the case dates back to the pre-merger days of 2006, when major labels squared off with XM Satellite over song-storing devices like the Pioneer Inno.  Instead of simply streaming satellite stations, the Inno allows users to capture and play songs on-demand, a usage scenario that introduces entirely new royalty structures.  The various majors (and publishers) struck their own out-of-court agreements in the 2007-8 timeframe.

Merlin played a critical role in the recent process.  “This is an important settlement, not just for Merlin’s members, but also, I am pleased to say, for the independent community at large,” Merlin head Charles Caldas relayed from Bangkok.  “This announcement underlines the value that Merlin has brought to its members by creating a body that ensures that they, and not just the major labels, have the opportunity to benefit from settlements such as this one.”

And what piece does Merlin get?  “Not sure until we run the full claim process,” Caldas told Digital Music News.

As a result of the class action settlement, Merlin members and all other independent record labels that had their sound recordings transmitted by XM Satellite Radio between March 30th, 2006 and December 6th, 2010 have the opportunity to participate.