Washington, DC (April 26, 2010)--SoundExchange has begun sending out checks in its largest-ever quarterly distribution, a total of $51.7 million in royalties from digital transmissions, including Internet radio, satellite radio and cable TV music channels.
The unprecedented amount represents a 135 percent increase over first quarter payments last year, and surpasses the previous record distribution by nearly $10 million.
"This was the result of a lot of hard work by our staff, and also represents a new commitment by our registrants to help increase these amounts," said John Simson, executive director of SoundExchange, the non-profit performance rights organization appointed by Congress to pay digital royalties to recording artists and sound recording copyright holders. "In addition to our usual distribution amounts, this total includes millions of dollars which were freed up by our commitment to cleaning up the bad data which is often reported to us by services."
Simson has spoken publicly about the challenge posed by poor reporting by the digital services that use sound recordings. During this quarter, however, SoundExchange staff have worked with registrants to resolve thousands of entries reported as "label unknown" or attributed incorrectly, by encouraging owners and artists to claim the tracks individually. SoundExchange staff also put in hours of research to correct data so that funds could be distributed properly.
The independent label community received its largest-ever portion of digital revenues this quarter. Many individual recipients received their largest checks to date.
"In this time of shrinking revenues from so many other sources, our SoundExchange income was large enough to have paid the production costs of a new album and more," said Bruce Iglauer, owner/operator of Alligator Records, "Absolutely every label and every recording artist should be a member. It's simply all positives and no negatives."
Simson also credited his organization's outreach to artists who had not previously received royalties with a portion of the growth.