Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Collection agencies: They do if for the artists

SoundExchange - roughly comparable to our broken-but-keen PRS - has just published its figures for 2009. Yes, despite burning through nearly $17million dollars worth of musicians' and writers' money on administration, it's taken until now to get the figures out.

MusicAlly has the details:

. They reveal incoming royalties of $204.2 million for the year (up 20% on 2008), outgoing distributions to artists and copyright holders of $155.5 million (up 55%), and operating costs of $16.7 million.
You'll have spotted a gap between what came in, and what went out. It turns out there's gallons of dollars slushing about in SoundExchange's coffers:
The key figure being the $111 million of ‘unpayable funds’
A distribution agency that can't find homes for a tenth of a billion bucks sounds like an organisation that isn't spending its seventeen million admin cream-off very effectively from where I'm sitting.
SoundExchange says it paid out $38.3 million of the $111 million in Q1-Q3 2010.
It's unclear if that $38.3m is included in the "outgoing distributions" - assuming it is, that makes the gap between what's come in and what has gone out in 2009 something around $70m.

The music industry likes to shout about filesharers "stealing" from artists. A collection agency which takes in millions of dollars to distribute to people, then admits it doesn't actually know who that money should be going to might be committing no crime, but seems to be in something of a murky grey area.