Following a terrific 2018, during which SoundExchange distributed a record $953 million in sound recording performance royalties to artists and copyright owners, we are off to a great start in 2019. For the first quarter of 2019, we distributed $220.7 million in payments to more than 185,000 payees. This represents a 16.2 percent increase in distributions and 17.3 percent increase in payees over the first quarter of 2018.
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 were excited to announce in February that the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA), a SoundExchange company, launched a new service providing publishers and songwriters with the ability to search for unmatched uses of their repertoire so they can get paid for that work. This new Unclaimed Works Portal enables publishers and songwriters easy access to data from digital services spanning billions of uses and is part of the CMRRA Direct service that helps to bridge the gap between sound recording and musical work metadata for music played on digital services in Canada.
The Unclaimed Works Portal is one of the many tools created by SoundExchange Companies to help music creators get paid accurately and efficiently. Other tools include:
Ahead of this year’s GRAMMY Awards, SoundExchange President and CEO Mike Huppe was named to Billboard’s Power 100 List. Mike was recognized for expanding SoundExchange’s membership to more than 178,000 artists and copyright owners, winning a $150 million settlement involving outstanding claims against SiriusXM, and securing a 41 percent royalty rate increase with the same broadcaster. While Mike is proud of SoundExchange’s accomplishments, he continues his call for a radio performance right: "The $15 billion terrestrial radio industry pays exactly zero to the performer and the record label," says Huppe. "We'll be continuing that battle in 2019."
In January we announced the appointment of Helaine S. Klasky as Chief Communications Officer at SoundExchange. The move reflects the company’s expanding role in shaping the future of the music industry. Klasky will oversee the company’s global communications, industry relations, and public policy teams that serve the company’s community of 178,000 artists and rights owners. She was previously the chair of Burson-Marsteller’s U.S. public affairs and crisis practice, the chief communications officer at GE Energy Management, and the chief communications officer at Yale University. Klasky also served in government as deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. department of the Treasury, as deputy assistant U.S. trade representative for public affairs, and ran the office of media affairs at the U.S. department of State.
SoundExchange had a significant presence at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, TX. The week-long music, film, and interactive media event attracted hundreds of well-known and aspiring artists from around the world. Our team on the ground hosted an Artists Lounge that was attended by more than 200 unregistered artists owed a total of almost $80,000 in royalty payments.
We are proud of our work to identify and register artists every day, and we are especially grateful that this effort was covered by Rolling Stone’s Amy Wang.
SoundExchange hosted its annual SXSW Showcase, providing an opportunity to highlight the talents of many up-and-coming music creators. Over the past several years, we have been honored to host incredible artists like Billie Eilish, the Bleachers, and Charli XCX. This year, for example, Miya Folick joined us on stage on the heels of a front-page story in the LA Times. Watch the video to hear from this year’s performers and be sure to join us in Austin next year.
In March, SoundExchange was nominated for the American Association of Independent Music’s (A2IM) Libera Award for Best Independent Champion. This award recognizes organizations for their support of independent labels and artists. We are honored by this nomination and will continue our work to support all music creators.
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.