SoundExchange Discloses $1 Billion in 2023 Royalty Distributions — Up 4.3% Year Over Year

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SoundExchange distributions topped $1 billion in 2023, up from $959 million in 2022, according to newly released data. Photo Credit: SoundExchange

SoundExchange has announced that its 2023 royalty distributions topped $1 billion, up about 4.3 percent from 2022’s total.

The more than two-decade-old entity, which collects and distributes royalties for the use of recordings on non-interactive digital services, just recently announced its Q4 2023 distribution total.

According to SoundExchange, it paid out $250 million during 2023’s final three months, against $257 million for Q3, $269 million for Q2 (when the non-profit’s cumulative distributions surpassed $10 billion), and $229 million for the year’s opening quarter.

That comes out to $1.005 billion on the year, reflecting the initially mentioned 4.3 percent boost (presumably calculated with the unrounded sums) from 2022’s $959 million. But the latter, it should be noted, marked a 3.4 percent year-over-year (YoY) slip and failed to reach 2018’s $953 million.

SoundExchange Royalty Distributions by Year, 2018-2023

2023: $1.005 billion

2022: $959 million

2021: $993 million

2020: $947 million

2019: $908 million

2018: $953 million

In its brief announcement message concerning the 2023 figure, SoundExchange didn’t identify total collections for the year; the 2022 sum came in at $1.017 billion, the organization indicated in its more comprehensive annual report this past summer.

Aligning somewhat with the consumption details of on-demand streaming services like Spotify, SoundExchange said Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” was its top track for the period spanning December 1st of 2022 through November 30th of 2023. (The list at hand “comprises only current songs.”)

Rounding out the same top-20 list’s five uppermost spots are SZA’s “Kill Bill,” Beyonce’s “Cuff It,” “I’m Good (Blue)” by Bebe Rexha and David Guetta, and “Anti-Hero” by Taylor Swift, respectively. Just three individuals, SZA, Swift, and Luke Combs, have two songs apiece on the list.

Also worth noting is that SoundExchange today gave the Jonas Brothers, “one of the most streamed acts in the organization’s 20-year history,” its Hall of Fame Award. Other recent recipients include OneRepublic (which took home the award earlier in January), Carrie Underwood (December), Marc Anthony (December), and Imagine Dragons (late November).

Bigger picture, SoundExchange remains embroiled in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit with SiriusXM, which allegedly failed to fork over “more than $150 million in royalties owed to artists and copyright owners.”

The satellite radio giant promptly fired back against the action, in which SoundExchange is specifically alleging an “artificially” inflated portion of subscription-package revenue attributed by SiriusXM to digital. As we reported when the suit was filed in mid-August of 2023, royalty calculations differ substantially between satellite and webcasting (such as listening via the SiriusXM app).

Lastly, SoundExchange-owned CMRRA and SX Works recently unveiled a partnership with Barbados’ Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (COSCAP).