US digital performance royalties agency SoundExchange has published some figures for last year, showing that its distributions grew by 4% to nearly $947m. That’s good news during the Covid-19 pandemic when other forms of performance royalties – as outlined by other collecting societies in recent months – were hit hard.

“With venues shuttered and touring revenue effectively non-existent, digital royalties represented the lifeblood and primary income source for a large segment of the music industry,” as SoundExchange’s president and CEO Michael Huppe put it.

How does 2020 compare with 2019 for those distributions, though? In 2019, SoundExchange paid out $908.2m, which was down 4.7% year-on-year but only because of a $150m settlement with SiriusXM in 2018. When it announced the 2019 distributions, SoundExchange said that organic growth in payouts would have been 13.1% without that settlement, so the 4% growth in 2020 is a deceleration in that sense.

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