Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sirius/XM Radio to be Passing $1.98 Monthly Royalty Fee Along to Subscribers

Those of you who might know me from online venues or the real world have probably heard me sing the praises of Sirius/XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI). As a sports fan, I figured that it pretty much sold itself- be able to catch radio play-by-play of the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, Celtics or BC Eagles from some 2900 miles away.

However, this sort of news makes Sirius/XM something of a tough sell to any fence-sitters out there:

Listeners of Sirius XM Radio Inc. are getting $2 fees added to their monthly satellite radio bills, in what's effectively a price increase for consumers.

Sirius XM, whose talk show celebrities include Howard Stern, is passing along performance royalty fees paid to singers, musicians and recording companies.
In approving the deal, the Federal Communications Commission barred the combined company from raising prices for three years. That means Sirius could only collect the royalty fees through a separate surcharge, which the FCC allowed the company to start charging after a year, or July 29, 2009.

New York-based Sirius began charging customers in August. The company said it started notifying them of the charge by e-mail and postal mail in mid-June.

Truth be told, I only found out about it prior to today because it was mentioned in my renewal notice that was mailed out earlier this month (I tend to pay in 1-year increments). Needless to say, I wasn't happy about it. Unhappy enough to discontinue my subscription? Probably not. But I don't see the need to tell my friends about this service if they're going to get nickeled and dimed right after signing up.

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