SoundExchange collected $888m in the US in 2015, and that figure is expected to grow for 2016.
However, there may be a stomach-lurching drop to come in 2017, thanks to direct deals cut by the likes of Pandora with music rightsholders – thus bypassing SoundExchange. “We’ve been warning SoundExchange for years that direct licensing will eventually impact their business model and they need to get ready for it,” one (anonymous) service exec told Billboard.
The latter has been doing some sums on how Pandora’s direct deals may alter SoundExchange’s collections in 2017, suggesting that from this service alone, there may be $180m less going through SoundExchange. Then again, as the piece notes, if satellite-radio firm SiriusXM has its royalty rates upped in 2018 by the Copyright Royalty Board “SoundExchange’s salad days could be starting all over again”.