Royalty payments from SoundExchange set a record in 2012, and exceeded the previous year by 58%. Payments to artists for performance made by Internet radio, satellite radio and cable radio services hit $462 million. Payments for performances made by subscription services are not included in these figures.
“SoundExchange’s increasing annual royalty payments are a positive indication of where the industry is heading. As digital radio continues to grow, so should the amount that performing artists and rights owners receive for the use of their content,” said SoundExchange President Michael Huppe. “Our distribution represents another record-breaking year for SoundExchange, but more importantly, it means more money in the pockets of the creators of music. We’re optimistic about the industry’s future, and look forward to maximizing digital performance royalties for the people we serve and finding new ways to propel the music industry forward.”
To be accurate it’s important to understand that not all of this money ends up in the hands of “creators of music.” According to Billboard, first, SoundExchange takes 5.3% off the top for administrative fees. After that, the “net” figure gets divided up as follows: record labels, or owners of the sound recording, get 50%. Performance artists get 45% and session musicians and backup singers get 5%.
Earlier this year it was estimated that Pandora was responsible for 37% of that record breaking number collected by SoundExchange. While SoundExchange doesn’t specifically report the figure they pay for performance royalties, they do report a “content acquisition fee”, which topped $182 million through their Q3 of 2012.
Nearly a third of British adults have listened to Internet radio, according to updated research from RAJAR, the official body in charge of measuring radio audiences in the UK. 16.3 million adults have listened either to live or time shifted streamed services.
RAJAR is jointly owned by the BBC and commercial radio companies. This updated information comes as part of MIDAS, Measurement of Internet Delivered Audio Services. Basically, commercial and non-commercial radio operators in the UK have teamed up to fund research that provides them with audience data, an approach that I think makes enormous sense for an industry that is witnessing the kind of platform segmentation that radio is.
Mobile listening has grown rapidly in the UK over the past year. 6.6 million persons 15+ have listened to Internet radio on a mobile device. Over a quarter of smartphone owners on the Midas survey (26% or 2.2 million adults) have downloaded a radio app and, of those, almost half (44%) use their radio apps at least once a week.
HD Radio units sold, currently at 3 million, will reach 4 million units by the end of this year, according to ABI Research. That number pales in comparison to the 13.5 million DAB radio receivers sold in Great Britain and Europe, but it’s a healthy increase of more than 25% this year. Digital radio technologies, including satellite radio and Internet radio, are expected to reverse trends of decreasing listenership to radio.
You got that right.
TWICE, a consumer electronics magazine recently produced a special print issue focusing on the changing nature of radio listening as well, citing satellite radio, digital radio and Internet radio as the fuel for future radio listening growth. Summarized in Radio World – an online industry publication, the article notes that the meaning of the word radio has changed to encompass all these various listening platforms.
“Like it or not, our industry consists of more (than) AM and FM over-the-air signals. If we don’t change our own thinking about that along with the market, we unnecessarily limit ourselves; we exclude radio’s businesses and our own careers from potentially exciting growth.”
The broadcast radio industry is at a crossroads. The choice…view themselves as audio content businesses and proceed to foster, develop and expand as many new listening technologies as they can, or remain focused on AM/FM over the air signals, sacrificing other channels.
The demands that FM receiver chips be mandatory in cellphones as part of a deal broadcasters are striking with record labels is a wrong turn for broadcasters. Heavyweight industry associations are lining up against it – Consumer Electronics Association president Gary Shapiro is incandescent with rage. “Rather than adapt to the digital marketplace, NAB and RIAA act like buggy-whip industries that refuse to innovate and seek to impose penalties on those that do.”
In the category of what-a-great-idea comes this: in England, the BBC (non-commercial radio) and commercial radio will join forces to set up the Radio Council, to focus specifically on radio’s digital future. Representatives will include the BBC as well as England’s three largest radio groups – Global Radio, GMG Radio, and Bauer Media, along with RadioCentre, a trade group that will represent all other commercial radio entities.
Reportedly, the new group will work to establish are a shared online live radio player, portal and a range of exclusive content to help boost struggling digital audio broadcasting (DAB) stations. The group will focus on digital radio in the forms of DAB and online, and will focus on devices, platforms and marketing to bring radio closer to a digital switchover.
There are lots of reasons behind this move that basically boil down to a growing concern that if radio does not move more quickly to digital platforms it will be left behind in the digital age. Andrew Harrison, the RadioCentre chief executive, said “This exciting new initiative kick-starts our collective approach to ensuring radio is at the heart of Digital Britain.”
A unified group focused on supporting digital development for radio. With the support of traditional broadcast groups and trade associations, it sure sounds like they mean business…