Digital Radio Report

Q4 2015

Breaking Barriers (and that’s just a start)

We made history at SoundExchange. In 2015 digital performance royalties reached $802.6 million, the largest annual distribution to recording artists and rights owners ever. Annual distributions increased four percent compared to 2014, when we paid recording artists and rights owners $773.4 million. Fourth quarter 2015 distributions also increased compared to the same period a year ago, reaching $211.4 million, a 16 percent increase over the $182.8 million we paid in Q4 2014.

While the figures are impressive, our efforts are defined by more than just record-breaking numbers. Our work on behalf of artists and rights owners is driven by the understanding that we can never stand still.

We made history in 2015. We have even bigger plans for next year.

SoundExchange 2015 Payments


Paid to



Our largest Q4 payment to date

$211.4 MILLION

Paid in Q4 2015

Q4 2014
Q4 2015
16% increase in SoundExchange payment from Q4 2014 to Q4 2015
28,107 payees Q4 2014
1 = 5,000 Payees
24,416 payees Q4 2015
1 = 5,000 Payees

The SoundExchange Effect

The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) in December announced the new sound recording royalty rates for webcasting through 2020 in the “Web IV” proceeding. Judges set per-performance rates for commercial services at $0.0017 per non-subscription performance and $0.0022 per subscription performance for 2016. Increases or decreases to this rate will be based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CRB is also beginning the rate proceeding to determine performance rates for SiriusXM’s satellite radio service for 2018-22 and for “pre-existing subscription services” that provide music to cable and satellite television.

With so much activity surrounding performance royalty rates, it promises to be a busy 2016. At SoundExchange, we believe the CRB’s Web IV rates are too low and fail to reflect the rates that would be established by a fair market, and we are considering all options – including an appeal. We also will be vocal participants in the process to set rates for satellite radio and pre-existing subscription services. The fight for fair performance royalty rates never ends. We will do all we can to ensure that recording artists and rights owners receive fair compensation for the use of recordings no matter where or when those recordings are used. It may be a New Year, but our strategy remains the same – standing up for recording artists and rights owners… every day.

Digital Radio’s Top Streamed Artists, Breakout Artists, and Tracks of 2015

Music had another banner year, with both established and breakout artists offering music lovers a wide variety of styles and genres. As we do every year, we are releasing our list of the most-streamed artists and tracks of 2015. A few of rock’s long-time superstars once again edged their way up the list of Digital Radio’s Top 20 Streamed Artists, joined by newer breakout artists.

View charts

Joe Jonas wants to see you get down with his new band, DNCE

Joe Jonas’ boy band days are behind him and he’s jammin’ with a new crew these days. We recently sat down with Joe and his three guys-one gal rock squad, DNCE, before a recent performance to talk about what happened to the “A” in their band name and more.

Watch video

Kelsea Ballerini Listens to Digital Radio Just Like You

This year, Kelsea Ballerini became the first female since 2006 to lead Billboard’s Country Airplay chart with a debut single. We got a chance to catch up with the Billboard Women in Music 2015 Rising Star honoree on her way to the White House to perform at the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting. Press play to hear Kelsea share her appreciation for digital streaming services—and SoundExchange—for helping new artists like herself get heard—and paid.

Watch video

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.