SoundExchange continues to show strong growth with Q2 2019 up year-over-year. For the second quarter of 2019, we distributed $212.2 million in payments of sound recording performance royalties to 27,885 payees. This represents a 1.7 percent increase in distributions over the second quarter of 2018. Continue reading below for an update on our work over the last three months.
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."
SoundExchange kicked off the first show in our Summer Rooftop Concert Series with Lincoln Durham, the Texas born and bred “Southern-Gothic Psycho-Blues Revival-Punk One-Man-Band with a heavy amped edge.” After he hit the stage in our Washington, D.C. office, we sat down with Lincoln for an interview about his musical beginnings playing the fiddle, his experience creating his own instruments, and how his sound has evolved. He spoke about his 5-year relationship with SoundExchange, “we're out there doing all the miles, doing all the hours, playing all the shows, and blowing out our voices, but SoundExchange is here to help the little guys,” he said.
In an interview with Music Tectonics podcast host Dmitri Vietze, SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe took a deep dive into how SoundExchange is helping to build a more fair and efficient music industry by streamlining the use and availability of music data and advocating on behalf of music creators.
Huppe emphasized the importance of having better centralization of data on music ownership, stating: “Only by developing a collective and standard approach to data will our industry be able to accurately account for ownership – and therefore payment – for the exploding music consumption across digital streaming services.” He further highlighted some of the tools SoundExchange has created to help on this front, such as the ISRC LOOKUP, Music Data Exchange (MDX) and data integrity work for digital service providers and labels. “We view ourselves as a solutions platform,” he said.
Huppe also explained how the Music Modernization Act (MMA) was a “watershed moment” for the industry, helping remove friction that has been holding the industry back and establishing entities like the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) that will help streamline payments to songwriters and publishers.
SoundExchange was proud to be the presenting partner for the American Association of Independent Music’s (A2IM) Libera Awards ceremony, held on June 20 in New York City. This annual event honors the independent community and those who support it. Check out our video, “Independent But Not Alone,” which was played at the ceremony and shows how we are honoring the music and the labels and artists behind the music — so they can go on independent, but not alone.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the lobbying group representing television and radio stations, is taking conflicting positions when it comes to paying someone for the use of their content. The NAB has long opposed paying music creators when a sound recording is played on terrestrial radio. However, when it comes to its members’ content being aired on satellite television, the NAB is a vocal proponent of paying for that use. This hypocrisy became clear during a recent Congressional hearing in Washington, D.C., which SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe highlighted in a recent op-ed published in Morning Consult.
Latin music is bigger and better than ever. Latin audio – music with lyrics more than half in Spanish – saw a 57.1 percent rise in total streams in 2018, up from 16.1 billion streams in 2017 to 25.3 billion in 2018, according to Nielsen Music tracking figures.
As SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe noted in a discussion with Billboard editorial director Hannah Karp during the Billboard Latin Music Week 2019 in Las Vegas in April, these streams have translated into more dollars going to Latin artists than ever before. For example, the Billboard Latin Music Awards' top five nominees this year saw a 102 percent increase in combined payments from 2017 to 2018.
Huppe added that Latin music consumers tend to be more tech-savvy than other listeners, getting more of their music from streaming services and listening longer than average consumers. “They’re more embedded in the tech… if you’re more digital, you’re going to be riding the wave of streaming that’s driving this growth.”
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.