April 26, 2016
Today marks the 16th annual World Intellectual Property (IP) Day. April 26 is recognized as IP day because it is the anniversary of the founding of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) a multinational special agency of the United Nations focused on the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property system, with 188 signatory countries. This year’s theme for IP day is particularly relevant to SoundExchange and our artists, record labels and licensees. WIPO describes this year’s IP day theme as follows:
This year, we are exploring the future of culture in the digital age: how we create it, how we access it, how we finance it. We will look into how a flexible intellectual property system helps ensure that the artists and creative industries are properly paid for their work, so they can keep creating. (http://www.wipo.int/ip-outreach/en/ipday/)
The theme touches the very heart of our work and our mission at SoundExchange. Why? Because we are committed to creating and delivering flexible solutions to ensure that creators are paid accurately, efficiently, quickly and fairly for the use of their work. Today there is more music being played in more places than ever before. Digital is the new cradle of creativity. The future of culture and creativity hinges in part on the deployment of trusted business processes and infrastructure which are purpose built to embrace and serve the creator in the digital marketplace and beyond. This infrastructure must be forward-leaning and future-focused.
In its recent year end wrap up, the U.S. music industry released figures showing that streaming represents 34 percent of total U.S. music revenues. SoundExchange administers nearly half of these streaming revenues. Since 2003 we have distributed more than $3.5 billion to artists and record labels. In 2015 alone, we distributed more than $802 million to the artists and record labels we serve for performances of their sound recordings across more than 2,500 digital services. We are rapidly closing in on $1 billion in annual revenues and have our sights clearly focused on doubling this achievement as we plan for growth to a $2 billion enterprise.
We have a responsibility to pay artists and labels as fast as we can at the lowest administrative rate (less than 5 percent) in the industry, with 90 percent of the royalties we pay being distributed within 45 days. The reason we have been able to serve our labels and artists so efficiently is that we have the good fortune of being digital natives, deploying purpose built, state of the art digital tools to serve our artists and labels. SoundExchange was born to solve the challenge of processing an enormous amount of data and to track and calculate billions of micro payments for our artists and labels.
In building our infrastructure we have tapped the latest technologies and tools to ensure that our platform is flexible and scalable. We are constantly updating our system modules and the repertoire and music use data which we drive through our platform – and which in turn drives accurate monthly payments to our artists and labels. In fact, earlier this year we launched an entirely new, end-to-end operations platform spanning data architecture, repertoire and rights information, music use processing, fee calculation and royalty distribution.
By collaborating across the industry we are rolling out new services to empower artists, labels and digital music services alike. Making data accessible to our creative and distribution partners helps to build a robust and accurate ecosystem. On this front, in March, we launched our International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) Search Site, making it publicly available to everyone to research ISRC data. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which manages the ISRC system globally under an appointment from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), selected the SoundExchange repertoire database to power the ISRC lookup capability on its own IFPI website. In its first month of operation, over 300,000 searches have been performed on the site and feedback from our industry partners is overwhelmingly positive.
Digital tools like our next generation operating platform and the ISRC database coupled with global collaborations like the SoundExchange/IFPI initiative are just a few examples of how the industry can work to develop the infrastructure and data services to ensure timely and accurate distribution of royalties.
Flexible, modern systems that can be repurposed and redeployed in whole or in part around the world to drive efficiency will help us to meet our mandate to ensure that creators are properly paid for their work so they can keep creating.
So today, on World Intellectual Property Day, I wanted to take a minute to thank my fellow team members at SoundExchange for their unwavering dedication to excellence and continuous improvement as we build the music rights platforms of the future.
I also want to thank our labels and artists. Your trust is well placed in SoundExchange. Our commitment to the value of your music and to delivering your royalties to you every month in the most accurate, fair and cost effective manner possible has never been greater.
JOIN US IN CELEBRATING:
Yours in music,
President and CEO, SoundExchange