The first half of 2018 is in the books. That was fast! It's been a heck of a year already. We're not just talking about all the awesome new releases we've been listening to or all the concerts we've attended (but those have been awesome!). We're talking about our work on behalf of recording artists and rights owners.
Let's break it down.
We distributed $208.7 million in sound recording performance royalties in the second quarter of 2018. We blew away our first quarter distributions. We also blew away our distributions from the second quarter a year ago. We're halfway there, but we aren't living on a prayer. We're working hard to get royalties in your hands, and we're doing it at the industry's lowest administrative rate.
We don’t do things halfway.
RECORDING ARTISTS - For SoundExchange, there are two different categories of recording artists: featured and non-featured. "Featured artists" refers to the group or individual most prominently featured on a sound recording, track or album. "Featured artists" receive direct payments from SoundExchange. A "non-featured artist" is an artist who is not prominently featured on a sound recording, track or album (i.e. a session musician or a back-up vocalist). Royalties for "non-featured artists" are covered by organizations such as the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA.).
RIGHTS OWNERS - "Rights owners" own the "master" to recorded artistic content. These entities are often referred to as "record labels." Those artists who own their own masters are often referred to as "independents" or "indies."
Music licensing reform continued to gain attention from lawmakers eager to update our nation's antiquated copyright laws. The U.S. House of Representatives was the first to embrace reform, giving its version of Music Modernization Act unanimous approval with a historic 415-0 vote. "They say Washington is a powerful town, but music is more powerful," Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told the Washington Post. "It's so powerful, it can bring together Democrats and Republicans."
Then the Senate weighed in. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced that chamber's version of the MMA (S. 2823), and on June 28 the Senate Judiciary Committee reported the bill with a unanimous voice vote. That means the bill will now go to the full Senate for consideration.
"Today, lawmakers continued to make progress on legislation that will result in the most comprehensive music licensing reform in our lifetimes. Music creators have waited long enough for Congress to reform our nation's outdated copyright laws. Now it's time for the full Senate to vote on the Music Modernization Act and send a bill to the president for his signature."
— Michael Huppe, SoundExchange President and CEO
on the Senate Judiciary Committee Approval of the Music Modernization Act
House of Representatives votes unanimously (415-0) to pass the Music Modernization Act (H.R. 5447).
Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearing on Senate version of the Music Modernization Act (S. 2823), and the bill earns bipartisan support.
Senate Judiciary Committee approves the Senate version of the Music Modernization Act (S. 2823) by unanimous voice vote.
We knew Music Data Exchange (MDX) would be a big deal because it addresses a huge need in the music industry. MDX is a free software application developed in cooperation with Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) to provide a central database of pre-release metadata and publisher rights, and claiming capabilities. The site employs the latest in automated messaging to enable high-volume, real-time data exchange.
MDX offers publishers full visibility to claimed and unclaimed percentages for new releases, and allows publishers to communicate their shares. That results in owner-established links between new release recordings and their underlying compositions. When information sharing between publishers and labels improves, the speed and accuracy of mechanical royalty payments improves. Makes sense to us.
SXWorks, a subsidiary of SoundExchange, has unveiled two new services: Works Claiming and Recordation. Both are being offered as NOI Premium Services, which give publishers and songwriters more opportunities to work with digital service providers (DSPs) to claim unpaid mechanical royalties and facilitate communication between creators and DSPs and creators and the U.S. Copyright Office.
Works Claiming helps publishers submit ownership claims and works shares to a DSP for its use of a musical work. Recordation services take the Works Claiming tool a step further. If a songwriter or publisher requests the Recordation service, SXWorks will facilitate submission of the proper information and documents to the Copyright Office so the Office's records are current and DSPs can locate a publisher's contact information and ownership data.
Our efforts on behalf of hard-working indie artists and labels represent some of our most important work here at SoundExchange. We support the mission of indie labels and artists every day by making sure the creative people of the thriving indie community receive fair pay and receive royalties quickly and efficiently.Watch "Declarations of Independents" playlist
Visit our Digital Radio Report archive to review SoundExchange's performance in past quarters.View archive
SoundExchange develops business solutions to benefit the entire music industry. The organization collects and distributes digital performance royalties on behalf of more than 155,000 recording artists and master rights owners accounts and administers direct agreements on behalf of rights owners and licensees. To date, SoundExchange has paid out more than $5 billion in royalties. SXWorks, a SoundExchange subsidiary created with the acquisition of the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd. (CMRRA), provides global administration and support services to music publishers for multiple licensing activities.