RIAA applauds XM/Sirius wedding


Mitch Bainwol, Chairman & CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), has this to say about DOJ approval of the merger between satcasters XM and Sirius: "The merger’s approval serves as a powerful validation that competitors should play by the same set of rules. On the heels of this decision, the logic for a performance right for terrestrial radio has never been clearer. Terrestrial radio — unlike satellite, Internet and cable radio — continues to reap special interest subsidies in the form of free government spectrum and an outdated exemption from compensating artists and record companies. It’s time for that to change and for Congress to provide an economic marketplace where there is parity amongst all delivery platforms."

RBR/TVBR observation: Talk about tortured logic. A highly dubious and questionable decision to allow the only two satellite services in the USA to merge in violation of their founding principles is somehow twisted into a validation of performance royalties for radio? Please.

Let’s look instead at the practical effects of RIAA’s dual wish list. By supporting the merger, it is reducing the number of satellite gatekeepers from two to one across all musical genres, giving musicians and labels one less door to knock on when trying to expose their music, and taking their leverage all the way down to zero. Meanwhile, RIAA is setting itself up for a ridiculous war with broadcasters which will have the net effect of killing off the free advertising its members have been enjoying for decades.

Everybody has had to deal with the drastic change brought about by rapidly changing technologies, but few have done so as poorly as the recording industry, starting when it decided to deal with its deteriorating business model by attacking its own customers. Now it wants to destroy its beneficial marketing arrangement with broadcasters and subject itself to the whims of a newly-monopolized satellite sector. It’s no wonder their flow chart arrows continue to point downward.