Sirius Satellite Radio may soon be able to claim that it is the only satcaster with 100% commercial-free music channels. An arbitration panel has ruled that XM Satellite Radio will have to introduce a
Sirius Satellite Radio may soon be able to claim that it is the only satcaster with 100% commercial-free music channels.
An arbitration panel has ruled that XM Satellite Radio will have to introduce advertising on some of its commercial-free music channels. The ruling resolves a legal dispute with Clear Channel, who made a 1998 investment in the satcaster, gaining control over four of XM's music channels, which now represent 2.5 percent of the satcaster's 160-channel subscription radio menu.
As an early investor in XM, Clear Channel has owned the right to program four music channels, but both companies have disagreed on the right to include commercials on those channels. In a statement given to Billboard Radio Monitor, XM spokesperson Nathaniel Brown confirmed that an arbitration panel has ruled that “Clear Channel is entitled to include commercials on the music programming it provides XM.” Over the next few months, as ads launch on those four Clear Channel-controlled channels, XM will add four new commercial-free music channels, in an attempt to offset the change and ensure that subscribers will see no reduction in the total number of commercial-free music channels. “We are firmly committed to maintaining commercial-free all the music channels XM itself creates,” Brown added.
The investment deal between Clear Channel and XM was made in 1998, before XM made its music channels commercial-free.
The satcaster has not confirmed what kind of music programming these new music channels will offer. However, XM has already added two new commercial-free music channels, Big Tracks (classic rock) and XM-chill (ambient, electronica and downtempo rock), which both launched on March 1.