SoundExchange announced yesterday (August 5) it has surpassed $3 billion in digital royalty payments to artists and labels since the organization became an independent non-profit in 2003.
The number signifies the explosive growth of digital radio over the past decade. In 2014 alone, SoundExchange paid $773 million to more than 100,000 artists and labels, which accounted for 16 percent of total revenues for the entire U.S. recording industry. It took nearly a decade for the nonprofit to pay out its first $1 billion (2012), while the second billion came almost two years later (early 2014), notes the New York Times of the growth.
“Three billion dollars in distributions marks a phenomenal milestone not just for SoundExchange, but for the entire music industry,” said President/CEO Michael Huppe. “While we celebrate this great achievement, SoundExchange continues to advocate for every artist and label to be paid fairly whenever their music is used on every platform. There are platforms that are currently not paying a dime for the music they use to build their billion dollar empires and the future of music depends on all creators being paid fairly for their hard work and creativity.”
The Times also notes a bulk of the collections came from Pandora and SiriusXM, which are distributed according to around half to record companies, 45 percent to performers and 5 percent to a fund for backup singers and session musicians after deducting 4.6 percent administrative costs.
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