We love numbers almost as much as we love music, so check out these numbers. SoundExchange distributed $209.3 million in sound recording performance royalties in the third quarter of 2018, a 37 percent increase over last year's third quarter. We've distributed $607.9 million in royalties so far this year. That's a 24 percent increase over our distributions through nine months last year.
That trend began early. Beginning with the first quarter, we exceeded royalty distributions by 17 percent compared to last year. It continued in the second quarter, when distributions increased 18 percent. If you add it up, 2018 is turning out to be a great year for music creators. That's music to our ears.
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."
We made history. This year will be remembered as the time the music industry came together to reform our nation's severely outdated copyright laws. After the Senate approved the Music Modernization Act on September 18, the House quickly took up the bill a second time (which they were required to do because the Senate made modest changes to the legislation). On September 25, the House approved the bill. This is arguably the most important legislative victory in the music industry in our lifetimes. The industry was in desperate need of comprehensive music licensing reform. We worked hard with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to achieve this historic victory. And so many of you worked hard to make your voices heard by writing letters and emails and making phone calls to members of Congress.
The Music Modernization Act will help music creators get paid fairly and create a more sensible payment framework. It's about time.
"If you are a music fan, you should celebrate today’s House passage of the Music Modernization Act. The music industry came together to demand that Congress modernize our music laws. That includes ensuring that music creators get paid more fairly. Because we spoke with on voice, Congress heard us. On behalf of SoundExchange’s 170,000-member community, thank you."
— Michael Huppe, SoundExchange President and CEO
In September, SoundExchange President and CEO, Michael Huppe, announced that Richard Conlon took on an important new role. Conlon became the Chief Corporate Development Officer at SoundExchange, which is well-aligned with our goal to expand services to the music industry. Conlon will coordinate the introduction of services across the family of SoundExchange companies, which includes SXWorks and Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd. (CMRRA). We are innovating faster than ever because the industry is changing faster than ever, and Conlon's appointment reflects our commitment to innovating at the speed of digital.Read Press Release
Again, we returned to New York as sponsors of the annual LAMC! Our main focus was meeting with managers and artists to let them know of their unclaimed royalties. LAMC is geared towards the rock/alternative and indie markets in Latin music in the U.S., Latin America, and Spain. LAMC is always a great experience for us, and we can't wait until next year!
SoundExchange Industry Relations Manager, Matthew Limones, travelled to Mexico City to present a workshop about digital performance royalties to attendees of the monitorLATINO Digital Summit. The Summit was a new spin on the premier publication's annual event; this year's programming focused entirely on the digital sector of the music business. Check out The Orchard's recap of the event here.
Colombia has become a hot market in the Latin music community, and we received an exclusive invitation to attend BOmm at the country's Chamber of Commerce. The conference showcases emerging talent in Colombia, and we were there to meet and introduce them to SoundExchange. Check out Billboard's highlights of the event here.
SoundExchange has proudly attended the NAB/RAB Radio Show each year since 2015. The Radio Show is a great opportunity for us to meet with broadcasters and answer questions about everything from fees and payments, to what recordings stations must report, to streaming and what requirements that new technology creates for broadcasters. This year was no different, and we were happy to join broadcasters in Orlando. If you didn't get a chance to meet with us at the Radio Show, don't hesitate to contact our Licensee Relations team. We're here to help.
We can't wait to see you at the next Radio Show!
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 nearly 175,000 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.