The performers rights organization known as SoundExchange announced this week that they distributed over $51 million worth of royalties to artists and labels in the first quarter of 2010. That payout represents a 135% increase over last year’s first quarter payout.
There are two reasons for the huge uptick in the size and number of checks SoundExchange is sending out this year. The first, as we’ve previously explained, is that online radio programs like Pandora are much larger today than they were even a year ago.
The second is much cooler.
Last year, SoundExchange initiated an outreach campaign intended to raise its profile amongst musicians. SoundExchange has been working in semi-obscurity since its inception in 2001, but the PRO changed that in a hurry by reaching out to artists and explaining that they were entitled to royalties from outlets ranging from Internet radio stations to cable television dating all the way back to 1996.
A lot of artists, including a lot of really big names, thought the calls and e-mails were bullshit, but once word of mouth kicked in, thousands of artists signed up and collected money that most of them probably assumed they’d never see.
SoundExchange also announced that they’re working to improve the flood of bad data they get every day from outlets that have mislabeled the songs they play. So if you’re waiting on money from that Internet radio show your songs keep charting on, now you know who to call. And don’t forget to ask for your back payments too.