XM Settles With Merlin

XM Satellite Radio is paying $3.6 million to Merlin to settle the class-action suit it brought on behalf of the independent label community.

The global independent music agency, whose members include Epitaph, Beggars Group, Warp, Saddle Creek, K7, Tommy Boy, One Little Indian and Domino, has been battling XM over copyright issues regarding devices that allow listeners to record and replay broadcasts.
Receivers like the Pioneer Inno allow XM subscribers to save and play back songs from satellite radio, and can even be used to record individual songs.

XM faced similar suits from the four major labels and settled them during 2007 and 2008, although the satellite radio service may not have survived the financial strain without investment from Liberty Media.

“This is an important settlement, not just for Merlin’s members, but also, I am pleased to say, for the independent community at large,” said Merlin chief exec Charles Caldas. “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.”

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

Since Merlin commenced operations in May 2008 it has struck deals with a number of digital services including Spotify, Rdio, MySpace Music and Simfy.

The organisation was set up to ensure its members have effective access to new and emerging revenue streams and that their rights are appropriately valued and protected.