U.S. government-regulated collection agency SoundExchange distributed $947-million in online performance royalties, the company announced. The money went to labels and independent owners of recorded music in 2020.
SoundExchange was founded in 2003, and administers the collection of streaming royalties for use of recordings in non-interactive music streaming. “Non-interactive” covers radio-style webcasting at all levels, from hobby online radio stations to giant entities which provide ad-supported music streaming. Royalties are distributed to over 250,000 rights owners — they also span a continuum from individuals who distribute their own recordings to major record labels with global scope.
The press release announcing 2020 distribution brags that SoundExchange made its monthly royalty payments without interruption, and noted that those payments were especially important during the Covid pandemic. “Music was among the industries hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said President and CEO Michael Huppe. “With venues shuttered and touring revenue effectively non-existent, digital royalties represented the lifeblood and primary income source for a large segment of the music industry.”
Year-over-year, 2019-2 RIAA 020, the payout number increased by $39-million, of four percent. SoundExchange was founded in 2003, and during its lifetime has collected and distributed more than $8-billion.
According to the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). streaming music of all types (non-interactive and interactive subscription services) represented 83% of American revenue to labels in 2020.