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XM Sirius Satellite Radio charging "US Music Royalty Fee"

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I've been AWOL here for a long time now, but I was prompted to come back to post this after today canceling my XM radio subscription.

I received a freebie portable satellite radio with a car kit, so I tried it out by subscribing to the $12/month "family friendly" plan. The radio was pretty cool, but I really only listened going to and from work, and generally only listened to two stations regularly. So I went online today to cut back to the $10/month music only plan. When I did, I discovered that starting on July 29, XM has added a $2/month "U.S. Music Royalty Fee" to subscribers' accounts to help offset the increased royalty fees XM is being caused to pay. Further searching indicates that this resulted from a 2007 decision by the "Copyright Royalty Board" (I believe, in connection with the XM/Sirius merger). This decision apparently increases the royalty fees XM is to pay each year to the dear folks like the RIAA, and XM has now determined that it can no longer absorb them and is passing it on to their subscribers.


While I don't necessarily fault XM for having to pass these costs on to their subscribers (the company was recently just a stone's throw away from bankruptcy), it was enough to put me over the edge and cancel. I don't listen to it enough to justify the cost, and it just pissed me off.

And, I used to consider myself fairly informed, but who the heck ever heard of the Copyright Royalty Board, anyway?

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I just recently became an XM subscriber, and it is (to me) the greatest thing on the air since I left the UK many years ago. I think the price is quite reasonable, with or without an extra $2 a month (no idea whether that is already included in my Canadian subscription). I look upon it as similar in concept to the current levy we pay here in Canada on blank CD media - something eventually finds its way to the copyright holders, without the necessity to indulge in silly scapegoating lawsuits against individuals in the hope of frightening everyone off.

Yes, Sirius XM is (and has been forever) close to bankruptcy. They need our support, at least I would like to think so. The demise of CBC classical in Canada pushed me towards a satellite subscription, and I only hope it attracts more subscribers so that the service survives.

I am sad to hear of your decision, especially if it is repeated by (or encourages) others. I seem to have met a lot of folks here who either just signed up, or are thinking seriously about it - most of them for the classical stations, but of course there is quite the variety of other "stuff". I was even beginning to think that maybe the tide was turning.

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In the rural hilly part of NY that I live I would love to have Sirius again. I stop by an automotive hifi shop every now and then to check if there is yet a receiver than can be driven by my stock Honda (no nav) head on my 2008 HCH. I don't want another ugly appendage on my dash like I had on my old car. Plus on the stock head I can control it from the steering wheel. For now I put up with bad reception on standard broadcast. I'm mostly trying to get NPR, so an ala carte subscription would be handy.

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The same guy I bought from is selling the Sony XT-XM1 at $50 a crack. Get a Sony headunit for $50 (used) or $98 (refurbished) and away you go. I'll PM you details if interested.

The only tricky part was getting Japanese radio (DIN) into N.Am car. You don't have that problem.

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