For those keeping score at home, there are now at least four major music companies looking to emulate Pandora-like personalized Internet radio. The latest addition is SiriusXM. Though the satellite radio company has for years now been hinting at some kind of "personalization" features (RAIN coverage from November 2010 here), details were nowhere to be found. Until now.
CEO Mel Karmazin said during SiriusXM's earnings call that, "Late this year, we plan to debut a SiriusXM version of personalized music online, allowing subscribers to tailor their favorite SiriusXM music channels to their tastes."
The web radio stations will be available to SiriusXM's Internet radio subscribers. And they will of course be commercial-free.
"Free and freemium competitors online will have a tough time matching the commercial-free aspect of SiriusXM-branded music combined with the unique sports and talk content we offer," argued Karmazin. Clear Channel's own personalized radio service is commercial-free, while Pandora and others offer to remove commercials for paying users.
"Make no mistake, SiriusXM is targeting the likes of Pandora and Spotify," writes Billboard. "SiriusXM's entry into personalized Internet radio shows this is a very competitive space." In just the past few weeks, its bee reported that Spotify, Rdio and Turntable.fm are also developing Pandora-like Internet radio services (RAIN coverage here, here and here).
Karmazin also took the opportunity to attack streaming radio royalty rates, which he says are "extraordinarily high." And Billboard writes (here) we can expect SiriusXM "to become even more vocal about the webcasting royalties paid by services such as Pandora and iHeartRadio."
SiriusXM is already unhappy with its current royalty rates. The company has been trying to secure direct licenses with rightsholders, thereby avoid SoundExchange and the statutory license (RAIN coverage here). Then SiriusXM sued SoundExchange and A2IM for allegedly interfering with its attempts to obtain those direct licenses (RAIN coverage here and here).
Finally, SiriusXM recently updated its Android app to include more interactive features. The upgrade allows mobile users to replay up to 5 hours of content, start songs and shows from the beginning, skip ahead and access SiriusXM's new 2.0 channel line-up. You can find out more here.