Sirius XM Radio set off a flurry of complaints from trade groups and labor unions late last month. It was trying to bypass the standard method of paying for digital streams — through a royalty clearinghouse called SoundExchange — and negotiate directly with record labels.
Sirius’s move was only the latest example of a gradual shift in the financial infrastructure of music. Many companies, from major labels to providers of background music, have been trying to reduce costs and gain control by circumventing the large organizations that have historically processed licenses and royalties. read more