Digital Radio Report

Q3 2015

Music streaming is not a trend, it’s the new normal

The new normal for music listening is undeniably digital radio. As listenership continues to grow, SoundExchange is proud to administer the statutory license to more than 2,500 digital radio services in the U.S. (such as satellite radio, Internet radio and cable TV music channels) for the use of sound recordings.

In Q3 2015, SoundExchange proudly facilitated $204 million in royalty payments to the artists and labels we represent. In today’s ever-changing music ecosystem, digital radio provides an additional revenue stream to recording artists and rights owner accounts. If you’re not already registered with SoundExchange, sign up today and start earning what’s rightfully yours.

SoundExchange 2015 Year-to-Date Payments


Paid to



Paid in Q3 2015

$590.6 M
Q3 2014 YTD
$591.2 M
Q3 2015 YTD
31,376 payees Q3 2014
1 = 5,000 Payees
34,095 payees Q3 2015
1 = 5,000 Payees

The SoundExchange Effect

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) released its 2015 mid-year revenue statistics, and the results show impressive growth in revenue from streaming services. Total streaming revenue to record companies and recording artists reached $838.6 million, 37 percent of all trade revenue (which reached $2.26 billion). This includes $387.2 million distributed by SoundExchange, a 20 percent increase from the prior year, and an all-time high. Overall, digital streaming growth was more than enough to make up for loss in revenue from digital download sales (from stores such as iTunes). Those sales declined 4 percent from prior years. Physical sales also continued their decline, down 17 percent from last year despite a 52 percent increase in vinyl sales over the same period.

Focusing on streaming, SoundExchange’s $387.2 million represented 46 percent of streaming revenue when measured at trade value. This is higher than any other category of streaming revenue, including paid subscription, which brought in $286.7 million. Paid subscription subscriber counts were lower than hoped for, only gaining 200,000 over the last year, bringing the current number to 8.1 million. (Importantly, however, those figures likely do not include any Apple Music subscribers.) In general, however, these numbers continue to demonstrate the increasing importance of streaming revenue for our industry. In the first half of 2015, SoundExchange payments represented 17 percent of recorded music revenue in the U.S. on a wholesale basis.

RIAA’s full 2015 numbers and analysis will be released sometime in April 2016.

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Digital Radio’s Top 20 Streamed Tracks - First Half 2015

Landmark Music Festival 2015 performers play the field with SoundExchange

It makes perfect sense that the inaugural Landmark Music Festival was held in the same place that all our nation’s presidential inaugurations occur and most prized landmarks stand tall—Washington, DC. It also makes sense that as fantasy football participants across the country were busy drafting players for their fantasy teams, we decided to ask a few of the festival’s performers to name the musicians—past or present—they’d select to be a part of their ultimate music squad. Press play to watch the first installment of SoundExchange’s Fantasy Band series.

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Asheru Listens to Digital Radio Just Like You

Best known for penning and performing the musical theme song for animated comedy series, The Boondocks, Asheru recently stopped by the SoundExchange office and shared his thoughts on how digital radio “levels the playing field” for independent and up-and-coming artists.

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Moving Music Forward

SoundExchange is the independent non-profit collective management organization created for the digital age. SoundExchange ensures that recording artists and rights owners are compensated when their work is streamed by non‑interactive digital radio.

SoundExchange royalties are paid by more than 2,500 non-interactive Internet radio, satellite radio and cable radio services for their use of sound recordings. These royalties are distributed by SoundExchange directly to the more than 110,000 recording artists and rights owner accounts that earn them.