Last week, SoundExchange, the non-profit entity that collects and distributes digital performance royalties announced its plans to send out more frequent payments to eligible artists and labels. In the past payments were sent quarterly, but beginning this month payments will be deposited monthly.
As SoundExchange President and CEOMichael Huppe said, “By making performance royalties available sooner, we are making it easier for recording artists and record labels to focus on creating the music we all enjoy.”
This might sound like a minor accounting tweak. But for middle-class recording artists and struggling indie labels, it could be massively helpful. Here’s why.
Same issue, new lawsuit. The big three record labels (Sony, Universal and Warner Bros), along with indie ABKCO, are the latest to sueSiriusXM for underpayment of royalties for pre-1972 sound recordings.
To the casual observer, musicians probably seem like a disorganized bunch. Unlike doctors or lawyers, there are no qualifying exams or prerequisites that certify a musician’s level of “professionalism.” On a group level, there is no central organization that represents their collective interests.
But that’s not the case. In addition to record labels, booking agents, managers and other teammates, musicians and songwriters can align with a vast array of music-related organizations that serve a number of purposes, everything from performance rights organizations like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and SoundExchange, to unions like AFM and SAG-AFTRA, to genre- or role-based organizations like Folk Alliance, Chamber Music America, or the Songwriters Guild.
As musicians and advocates, we at FMC know that these organizations serve an important purpose, and we have a sense that membership makes a difference. But in what ways? Do musicians that belong to certain organizations participate in more revenue streams? Do they make more money because of these allegiances? Or is the inverse true; do particular types of work make it possible and/or necessary for musicians to join certain organizations?
[This post co-authored by FMC Policy Fellow Daniel Lieberman]
August in DC is traditionally a slow month. Election seasons are even slower. This year seems a little different, at least concerning an issue that could directly impact musicians. Within a span of six weeks, members of the House of Representatives on both sides of the aisle have introduced new legislation that aims to establish a more level playing field for radio royalties. read more
Whether on vinyl, cassette, CD or via digital download, income from the sale, license or performance of sound recordings has been a core part of many musicians’ income streams for decades. But there’s no doubt that income from sound recordings — perhaps more than any other — has experienced significant challenges and undergone serious changes in the past 10 to 15 years. read more
We were reading Hypebot the other day and came across some encouraging info about SoudExchange — the nonprofit organiztion that collects and distributes royalties for digital public performances (think webcasts, Pandora, satellite radio). We love it when more artists get paid, so we were pretty psyched to read about the 17 percent increase in distributed royalties. read more
Sirius XM Radio set off a flurry of complaints from trade groups and labor unions late last month. It was trying to bypass the standard method of paying for digital streams — through a royalty clearinghouse called SoundExchange — and negotiate directly with record labels.
Sirius’s move was only the latest example of a gradual shift in the financial infrastructure of music. Many companies, from major labels to providers of background music, have been trying to reduce costs and gain control by circumventing the large organizations that have historically processed licenses and royalties. read more
Recording artists and indie labels: there’s a movement afoot to change the way that you would receive your digital public performance royalties, and it’s not a good one, especially for recording artists.
Back in August, we blogged about the news that Sirius/XM was considering doing a direct licensing deal, expressing our serious displeasure with the move.
In recent days, the artist community — including AFTRA, AFM, The Recording Academy,A2IM and SoundExchange — has been broadcasting the message to their members about the negative consequences of direct licensing deals for digital performance royalties. We applaud our artist colleagues for urging their members signed to indie labels (or self-released artists) to not accept these direct licensing deals.
We here at FMC wanted to join in the chorus and explain to musicians and labels why the current statutory licensing structure is better for all stakeholders.