2018 is in the books, and we’re extremely proud of what we accomplished on behalf of music creators. Passage of the Music Modernization Act (MMA) was a profound policy achievement that modernized U.S. copyright laws. The MMA includes the CLASSICS Act, which guarantees federal copyright protection for sound recordings recorded before February 15, 1972 and ensures that legacy artists receive compensation for their work. The new law also includes the AMP Act, which codifies SoundExchange’s practice of honoring Letters of Direction (LODs) from recording artists.
But that’s not all. We had another accomplishment in 2018. We distributed more sound recording performance royalties to recording artists and rights owners than in any other year of our 15-year existence – a record $953 million. We reached that historic milestone with a strong fourth quarter, distributing $345 million in Q4 to music creators. We’ve achieved so much, but now we’re focused on 2019. As we look ahead, rest assured that we will continue to do all we can to make sure music creators get paid fairly and that the industry operates in the most efficient, transparent way possible.
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."
The Music Modernization Act (MMA) was signed into law on October 11, 2018. The law updated our nation’s antiquated copyright laws and made sure that music creators will get paid more fairly. Once the bill became law, industry leaders gathered to celebrate one of the most impactful pieces of music legislation in two decades.
As 2018 came to a close, SoundExchange compiled charts showing “Digital Radio’s Top 20 Streamed Tracks” and “Top Breakout Artists” of the year. Who do you think topped the charts?
It’s always nice to see people get the credit they deserve. Two SoundExchange executives recently earned recognition from Billboard for their hard work. The magazine included Senior Vice President and General Counsel Colin Rushing in its annual list of the music industry’s top lawyers. The publication also included Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Bender in its annual list of the industry’s digital power players. Congrats to each of them!Complete Billboard 2018 Top Music Lawyers List Complete Billboard 2018 Digital Power Players List
SoundExchange Board member and Universal Music Group General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs, Jeffrey Harleston, was honored October 15 at the T.J. Martell Foundation’s 43rd New York Honors Gala. Harleston received the organization’s Lifetime Music Industry Award.
The T.J. Martell Foundation is a national non-profit charity that provides funds for innovative cancer research, and the Honors Gala is the foundation’s primary fundraiser of the year, supporting its mission of funding innovative medical research and treatments focused on finding a cure for cancer.
SoundExchange has a strong relationship with the gospel and contemporary Christian music community. We joined the Gospel Music Association once again for the 49th Annual Dove Awards in Nashville on October 16. One highlight of the evening occurred when SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe teamed up with gospel music recording artist Jonathan McReynolds on stage to present the Gospel Artist of the Year Award to SoundExchange member, Tasha Cobbs Leonard (Motown Gospel).
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 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 $6 billion in royalties.