XM Satellite Radio
The country's largest satellite-radio provider announced a settlement with EMI Music this morning, stemming from XM's controversial Inno receiver. All of the major labels sued XM two years ago after it released the portable device, which could record hours of digital audio for later playback. (Consider it the aural kissing cousin to TiVo's
Terms of the settlement aren't public, but XM has spent the past few months turning its major-label enemies into friends. The satellite-radio company struck a deal with Universal Music and Warner Music Group
Perhaps the most sobering aspect of this settlement is that -- as cool as gadgets such as XM's Inno and Sirius Satellite Radio's
That may not explain why the labels have warmed to XM's handshake, but perhaps it's an admission that satellite radio -- already paying the record companies royalties for its commercial-free music broadcasts -- is the least of the prerecorded-music industry's concerns.
With the simmering merger between Sirius and XM nearing completion, the record labels are rightfully realizing that satellite radio is the key to reaching music fans with the disposable income to throw at radio subscriptions. The labels don't want to burn that bridge, especially when so many others are going up in flames.