SoundExchange, the performance royalty organization for content played on satellite radio, Internet streaming and cable TV music services, said it handled record distributions in 2011.
According to a release, it distributed an estimated $292 million, up 17% from 2010. Fourth quarter distributions were almost $90 million.
Playing out in the background of these numbers is the question of future satellite royalties. The organization hopes to collect more in future from Sirius XM; but rates have been a point of contention, with SoundExchange arguing that current rates are too low. “We believe that it is no longer appropriate for musicians to be subsidizing Sirius XM,” SoundExchange wrote in October. Artists’ organizations have expressed concern over reports that the satellite company was considering direct licensing.
SoundExchange also said its roster of artists (including other rights holders such as labels) had increased to approximately 15,300, compared to 12,000 in 2010. It said it has improved its artist search, registration and payment capabilities.
President Michael Huppe said, “Our growth is encouraging news for the industry, and for the performers who put their heart and soul into the music we enjoy every day.”