US performance rights body SoundExchange has broken its record quarterly payout to artists and labels again, dishing out $122.5m in the third quarter of 2012. That takes it to $326.9m for the year so far, which is already $30m more than its payout for 2011 as a whole. “This distribution represents yet another record-setting quarter for SoundExchange, but means so much for the recording artists and record labels that rely upon this growing revenue stream,” says president Michael Huppe. The news comes at a time when SoundExchange is under a bit of pressure – not just the traditional questions about how much money it ISN’T paying out, but the prospect of some of the biggest services it collects from trying to strike direct deals with rightsholders. Oh, and the lobbying process around the next set of royalty rates for Pandora and other similar services, which has already turned rancorous.