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Music Business News, January 31, 2017

SoundExchange paid out $884 million last year. And the Billboard Hot 100 will now include data from Pandora. Also, Vevo now has 100 million active users in the U.S.




SoundExchange Increasing its Royalty Payouts


SoundExchange paid $884 million in artist and label royalties in 2016. Billboard reported that this is a 10.1 increase over total payouts in 2015.


Michael Huppe, CEO and president of the company stated, “We distributed record-setting royalties to artists and labels in 2016 and broadened our charter beyond our original role of administering statutory licenses … In 2016, besides processing digital radio payments, we also launched new data validation services, managed the distribution of royalties for over a dozen direct licenses, and administered some critical industry settlements. These are significant milestones.”


SoundExchange is still the biggest collector and distributor of statutory royalties to artists and labels in the recorded music industry. During the past year, the company was in charge of 15 direct licensing deals, for example, Pandora’s deal with record labels struck in the fourth quarter of 2016.


Financial reports from prior years indicate that SoundExchange has been diversifying its ability to handle administration for direct deals. In 2015, SoundExchange collected $888 million; $846 million came from statutory deals, indicating that $42 million was from managing payments made through direct deals. That is up from the $38 million in direct deal royalties it collected in 2014.


SoundExchange is still unclear about how much revenue it collected in 2016 and will not be able to offer up that number until it files its 990 form later this year.


This past year, SoundExchange also started up a new end-to-end business platform for management of rights, repertoire and royalties. The company also launched its self-proclaimed “first” public International Recording Code (ISRC) database alongside the IFPI. The database offers information on 30 million sound recordings. SoundExchange also launched a Spanish-language registration module for Latin artists and labels.


Huppe concluded, “Looking ahead, we will continue to increase service to our artists, labels, DSPs and the entire music industry in 2017.”


Pandora Data Finally Added to Billboard Hot 100


Pandora data will now inform the Billboard Hot 100 chart of songs, reported Complete Music Update.


Pandora has yet to release its on-demand platform set to compete with Spotify and Apple Music. It continues to act as a personalized radio service. The algorithm controls what the listener hears.


Co-president of the Billboard Media Group, John Amato said, “Billboard’s unrivalled charts are the definitive source for ranking music popularity … For decades, the charts have acted as a place where both artists measure success and fans discover music … Close to 80 million music lovers listen to Pandora every month and we look forward to bringing our brands together to incorporate Pandora’s data into our charts.”


In a statement published by Billboard, Pandora head Tim Westergren added, “Over the last few years, Pandora has shared more and more data with the music industry. We started with artists and managers, then direct deal label partners, and now Billboard for inclusion in the iconic Hot 100 chart. With each step along the way our partners have been shocked by the sheer size of Pandora’s audience … With the inclusion of Pandora data, the Billboard charts that have guided listeners and been so central to the music industry for decades now reflect a truer measure of a song’s popularity today.”


Alex White of Pandora’s stats company Next Big Sound said, “Next Big Sound has been a data partner of Billboard since 2010 with the introduction of the Social 50 chart …Based on our years of data expertise across social and streaming sources, we know the staggering volume of Pandora data that has not been counted … We project that the Pandora data will have material impact on the chart positions. I am excited that the Hot 100 will now include the enormous number of spins on Pandora.”


Other Billboard chart contributors include streaming music services such as Slacker, Google Radio, Napster and AOL Radio, Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon and SoundCloud, plus YouTube and VidZone.


Vevo Hit Nearly 100 Million U.S. Users


Around 97 million Americans watched one or more music video on Vevo in October 2016, reported comScore’s first-ever Video Metrix that included YouTube mobile viewership.


Music Business Worldwide also said that 43 percent of all YouTube viewers in the U.S. viewed a Vevo video inside the Google platform during the same period. These numbers pointed to new revelations about YouTube user behavior. There are 320 people living in the U.S., so that means one out of every four Americans watch Vevo in a given month.


Previously, Vevo estimated that it has over 400 million active users worldwide, four times the number of users on Spotify.


VP of research at Vevo Andrea Zapata explained, “Very quickly, our industry will have to reconsider the notion that mobile devices are a ‘second screen’ … 58-percent of Vevo viewers measured by comScore are exclusively reached by phones and tablets – these devices are the first and only screens used for a majority of our audience.”


She added, “None of this should come as a surprise for two reasons: First, Vevo viewers spend 40-pecent more time on their phones and tablets than they did in 2015 … Second, thanks to groundbreaking research conducted with Nielsen in 2016, it’s been confirmed that Vevo reaches up to 25 million viewers in a single day, which is comparable to a top 5 television network.”


Universal Music Group has a 49-percent stake in Vevo, which also touts Sony Music, Abu Dhabi Media and Alphabet/Google as shareholders.

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