Recent report of a “waiver of SoundExchange royalties”

Recent report of a “waiver of SoundExchange royalties”

Recently, a music service claimed in the press to have “a SoundExchange royalty waiver.” To set the record straight, there is no such thing as a “SoundExchange royalty waiver.” SoundExchange doesn’t grant “waivers” of anyone’s obligation to pay royalties: we administer the statutory license provided as a part of federal law.

Moreover, SoundExchange consistently advocates for the value of music. Artists and copyright owners invest tremendous effort and resources in the creation of music, and they deserve to be paid when it is used. Their creative work is the backbone of music services, and we have always resisted claims that services should be permitted to use music for free in the name of “promotion.” Rights owners are of course free to decide if it makes sense to grant royalty waivers in certain circumstances. We believe, however, that the industry is best served in the long run when artists and labels properly share in the benefits of their creations, and not when they are asked to donate those creations to supplement the bottom line of others.

Thus, when a service says that it has a “SoundExchange royalty waiver,” it presumably means that it has decided, for whatever reason, not to rely on the statutory license – it most definitely does not mean that SoundExchange granted a “waiver” of its obligation to pay royalties.