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SiriusXM will pay $210 million to use songs recorded before 1972

Billy Steele
06.26.15
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Before now, satellite radio company SiriusXM wasn't paying royalties on the catalog recorded before 1972 that it beamed to customers. Today, the company agreed to pay $210 million for those songs, compensating both independent and major record labels for using their material. The settlement comes after ABKCO Music & Records, Capitol Records, Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings and Warner Music Group filed a lawsuit against SiriusXM in 2013. Under the terms of the agreement, the satellite radio service can "to reproduce, perform and broadcast" the library of tunes until December 31, 2017 without further payments. This means that tracks from the likes of the Rolling Stones, Gloria Gaynor and many more will be subject to agreements. Why weren't they protected before? Material recorded prior to February 15, 1972 isn't subject to the same protections as songs released after, so streaming services and radio stations weren't required to pay licensing fees.

"This is a great step forward for all music creators," Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) chairman and CEO Cary Sherman explained. "Music has tremendous value, whether it was made in 1970 or 2015. We hope others take note of this important agreement and follow Sirius XM's example." Back in April, members of Congress teamed up with the musicFIRST Coalition on the Fair Play Fair Pay Act in an effort to end the royalty-free use of music created before 1972. Now, we'll have to wait and see if other companies follow suit and agree to compensate artists and labels for using their work.

[Image credit: Robin Marchant/Getty Images for SiriusXM]

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