Digital rights for music and content is not a new phenomenon, but it is only just now that the issue seems to be raising the stakes in the world of digital content. With the advent of smart phones and apps, the ease with which digital content can be accessed has made it a cash cow for artists as well as record labels.
This past Friday the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Eminem was entitled to 50% of the revenue from downloads and ringtones. Universal, the label for Eminem had been paying only 12% (the going rate for physical albums). As one of the hottest selling artists since 2000, the ruling gives Eminem a huge payday.
Digital rights impact more than just music and downloads. Sirius XM's Howard Stern has not allowed his popular radio show to be broadcast over apps. This has made the King of All Media absent from the latest platform that delivers audio entertainment. Stern is not alone in being absent from Sirius XM's Internet Radio platform. There are several other channels, namely the major sports, that do not allow their content to hit the smart phone market via the satellite radio provider.
Digital rights will be the hot topic in the Stern negotiations as well as any other content negotiations going forward. Clearly the issue of royalties is something that any radio company is interested in watching. Taking on the record labels is no small task, and suits such as the recent Eminem decision will make any company ensure that all of the i's are dotted and t's crossed.
Eminem has a new hit record out now, is a regular on the charts, and has his own channel, Shade 45, at Sirius XM Radio.
Position - Long Sirius XM Radio