SoundExchange paid out $498m to artists and labels in the first half of 2023

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US performance rights organization SoundExchange distributed USD $269 million in digital royalties to creators in the second quarter of 2023.

The distribution marked a 17% YoY increase from the same period last year, SoundExchange said in a press release.

This resulted in H1 2023 distributions reaching $498 million, up 7.1% from $464.9 million in the first half of 2022.

SoundExchange, the sole entity authorized by the US government to oversee the Section 114 sound recording license, is responsible for the collection and equitable distribution of non-interactive digital performance royalties to musicians and rights proprietors. 

Since its establishment in 2003, SoundExchange says it has disbursed over $10 billion directly to a global community of more than 650,000 music creators.

In addition to monetary distributions, SoundExchange also offers a suite of services aimed at streamlining the music industry.

These services include regular monthly distributions, flexible mobile payment options, and an administrative fee which it describes as “the lowest” in the industry.

In 2022, the organization collected $1.017 billion in digital royalties from over 3,600 streaming platforms on behalf of around 600,000 artists like Ludacris and Billie Eilish.

“In doing so, the company crossed the $9 billion threshold for distributing royalty payments since its inception in 2003,” President and CEO Michael Huppe said in July.

At the time, Huppe attributed the increase to the resurgence of live music last year, and to the organization’s efforts in advancing fairness for creators in the US Congress.

Elsewhere, last month, SoundExchange filed a lawsuit against US satellite radio service SiriusXM over alleged $150 million in unpaid royalties to artists and rights holders.

The focus of the lawsuit revolves around SiriusXM’s online streaming service. SoundExchange contends that SiriusXM has disproportionately allocated a substantial portion of its revenue towards its streaming service, rather than its satellite radio service. 

SiriusXM has since responded to the allegations, saying it was “surprised” and “disappointed” by the lawsuit, arguing that its method of calculating the royalties it owes is “rigorous, tested and fair.”

Last year, SoundExchange emerged victorious in its legal battle against Slacker, Inc. and its parent company, LiveOne, in the US District Court for the Central District of California. The lawsuit was filed by SoundExchange seeking redress for unpaid royalties owed to creators and rights holders.

As a result of the court’s ruling in October 2022, Slacker and LiveOne were ordered to pay $9.7 million in previously unpaid royalties to performers and rights owners.

Data from the RIAA on Monday (September 18) showed that digital and customized radio music revenues in the US, including SoundExchange distributions, grew 16% to $657 million in the first half. This category also includes revenues from services like SiriusXM and internet radio stations. 

Music Business Worldwide

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