SoundExchange, which collects and distributes label royalties from streaming music, released its Q1 2017 report this morning, citing growth statistics compared to Q1 2016. It’s a growth story of participating musicians, even as Pandora — the largest single contributor to label royalties from webcasting — reduced its involvement in this particular payment system.
The headline number is $162-million, the amount collected in the first quarter. That’s where Pandora comes in, according to SoundExchange. “Royalties were lower than Q1 2016 mainly due to the impact of direct licenses that Pandora entered into with rights owners,” the report states. “In these new agreements, Pandora is paying rights owners directly and SoundExchange is continuing to pay artist royalties directly for the service’s ad-supported tier.”
The performing rights organization received nearly 10,000 new registrations (9,906) compared to 6,780 sign-ups a year ago. This report shows 32,297 rights ownerrs receiving royalty distribution, compared to 25,688 a year ago.
“People need to realize that streaming is becoming king in this country.” –Michael Huppe, CEO, SoundExchange
SoundExchange took the Q1 opportunity to promote an item on its regulatory agenda — the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, a piece of proposed legislation perennially sitting in Congress which would mandate royalty payments to labels from terrestrial radio. Over-the-air radio has always been exempt from that obligation in the U.S., unlike many other countries. It is an ongoing, multiple-year lobbying battle between SoundExchange (representing labels and recording artists) and the national Association of Broadcasters (representing radio stations). “Treat Music the Same, Regardless of the Platform,” declares the Q1 SoundExchange report.