First it was satellite radio providers XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:XMSR) and Sirius Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) carving up the major car manufacturers to make their system the exclusive model upgrade or factory installation. Then the battle carried over to portable receivers to make the components available at home as well as in the car. Now the battle of the brands is moving online -- and Akamai (NASDAQ:AKAM) is making sure that XM comes through loud and clear.

In announcing that Akamai would be XM's leading provider in streaming for its online music and proprietary content streams, it was simply stating the obvious. Akamai is the market leader in speeding up the online delivery of content through its global network of more than 15,000 servers, and it's in the process of acquiring its largest rival, Speedera, in a $130 million deal that was announced last month.

Streaming the broadcasts from more than 70 of its channels online is going to become a more demanding task now that XM is including the feature as part of its $3 subscription hike to $12.95 a month this month. Until recently, the company offered the streams to members for $3.99 a month and to everyone else for $7.99 a month.

With Sirius offering online music streams to subscribers for free, it was really only a matter of time before XM followed suit. However, XM elevated the perceived value of its online streams earlier this month, when it brokered a deal with Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) to hook up with to offer a new premium audio service that would be free to America Online subscribers.

Akamai certainly won't mind the online migration, and it's already a bit of a rock star on the digital music scene. The company helps power Apple Computer's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes content delivery for iPods, and Speedera is more than happy to collect bursting revenue when music fans jam up the American Idol site to learn more about their favorite contestants. So while this may seem like a small alliance between Akamai and XM, it's one that could become more significant if XM's 3.8 million subscribers become enamored with tuning in while surfing the Internet.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks it's cool that Sirius broadcasts The Motley Fool Radio Show four times over the weekend. He owns shares in Akamai. The Foolhas a disclosure policy. He is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.