RAIN 5/24: SoundExchange explains $200 million in unpaid royalty holdings
SX SAYS HALF OF “HOLDINGS” IS ACTUALLY NOT BEING HELD AT ALLIn response to last week’s discovery by Digital Music News that SoundExchange is holding $200 million in unpaid royalties (RAIN coverage here), the non-profit organization has explained why it’s seemingly sitting on so much cash.
SoundExchange spokeswoman Laura Williams told Wired that, in fact, half of the $200 million is actually not being “held,” but was rather “just in transit through our system when the count occurred.” Additionally, said Williams, 11% is being held pending court rulings and 5% should go to foreign artists, but international royalty societies haven’t claimed the funds yet. And finally, 10% of the cash came with no data about who the money should go to (says Williams), while 5% had bad data (like “Various Artists”).
Wired‘s Eliot Van Buskirk does the math (here) to find that Williams’ explanation covers 80% of the $200 million, “which leaves around $39 million owed to artists and labels that have yet to register with the service, and could be unaware that they need to do so.”
As Pandora founder Tim Westergren has stated, it’s “remarkably hard to get musicians to take the initiative.” Still, Van Buskirk writes that, “despite its protestations to the contrary, SoundExchange could clearly be doing more to find these people.” However, he concludes, “As satisfying as it might be to pin the blame on SoundExchange…the underlying cause of this situation is that too many [artists] (or their beneficiaries) simply don’t realize they need to register.”
RAB: RADIO DIGITAL REVENUES CONTINUE TO GROW AS OVERALL REVENUES IMPROVEIn 2009, digital revenue’s overall growth of 13% was usually the only positive note in souring revenue reports. That doesn’t seem to be the case in 2010, however, as overall radio revenues have increased 6% since last year — “the largest year over year gain posted since third quarter of 2000,” according to Jennifer Lane’s Audio4Cast blog (here). Digital growth outpaced the overall gains though, increasing by 18% (more from RAB here).
Lane points out that overall Internet ad revenues (not just radio) increased 7.5% in the first quarter of 2010, hitting $5.9 billion. Lane writes, “While digital dollars for radio are growing faster than the entire digital spend, radio’s $480 million in digital dollars remains a small segment of that pie.”
Additionally, webOS offers true multitasking (the ability to run several apps at the same time), meaning users can listen to Net radio while performing other tasks — something they can’t do on an iPhone or iPad…yet. However, Engadget reports that there is no truth to these rumors (here). One thing is clear: HP has been very vocal about producing a webOS tablet and that should be a good thing for webcasters. HP bought Palm in April (RAIN coverage here).
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