Satellite radio can be a pretty wonderful thing but it raises questions like how do they afford all this content and how can they pay royalties for all of these different songs without any advertising? Well, the reality is that royalties can be quite the grey area.
According to a report from Marketing Magazine, a group representing Canadian musicians and song publishers has launched a notice of application in Federal Court against Canadian Satellite Radio Inc., the subsidiary of XM Radio, over royalty issues. The group, called CSI, represents the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd. and the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada.
CSI is claiming that XM Radio owes royalties dating all the way back to the station's Canadian launch in 2005, with the group now seeking an injunction prohibiting the station from broadcasting songs by Canadian artists represented by CSI and the Society of Canadian Authors and Music Publishers of Canada until payment is made.
While CSI did not disclose the actual amount owed, the group claimed that the XM operators have indicated that they won't be paying royalties until 2010 at the earliest.
In a statement made to the Canadian Press, XM representatives explained that the station's low profit margins have made it difficult to pay royalties. "The company is committed to meeting its obligations but notes that its royalties include a significant retroactive tariff to 2005, coming due during a very challenging economic time," said XM Canada spokesman Peter Block.
Still, a promise like that may not be enough to keep this mess out of court. In other words, Canadians might need to dust off their old-fashioned radios if they want to hear some Canadian content.