US performance rights body SoundExchange says it paid out $204.4m in digital royalties to artists and labels in the first half of 2012: $108.6m in Q1 and $95.8m in Q2, making them the two biggest quarterly distributions in its history. “This quarter’s distribution adds to what is shaping up to be a record breaking year for SoundExchange and reflects the continued growth of digital radio listenership and services,” says president Michael Huppe. There are challenges, though: critics continue to scrutinise the money that hasn’t been paid out by SoundExchange – the company continues to work with various third-party services to connect artists with unpaid cheques. And satellite radio station Sirius XM is trying to cut SoundExchange out by striking direct licensing deals.

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