Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
collections, money

Companies:
choruss, soundexchange



How Come SoundExchange Is Holding Onto Over $100 Million?

from the questions,-questions,-questions dept

We've talked about the ridiculousness of the various music collections societies being involved in the discussions on new music business models. To them, the answer is always the same: add another license and let us collect it. They're middlemen and they take in tons of money and would only be all too happy to take in more. Some got upset with us in the comments, by noting that some of these collections societies are non-profits. In fact, the new Choruss offering, which we've already explained why it's a bad idea that's more of a bait-and-switch than anything useful, has been described as a similar "non-profit" collections group.

But, as we've noted in the past, supposedly nonprofit collections groups such as SoundExchange (a spinoff of the RIAA) are notorious for not finding artists to pay -- even some of the biggest names in the business. Oh, and did we mention that if the royalties go "unclaimed" the recording industry (via SoundExchange) often gets to keep the money? Given that bit of info, it's perhaps no surprise at all that P2Pnet is noticing that SoundExchange's own tax returns note that the nonprofit was sitting on over $100 million at the end of 2007, a pretty significant leap over previous years, and a somewhat startling sum for a supposed "nonprofit" in charge of both collecting and distributing funds.

It seems like those musicians sure are difficult to find.

The P2Pnet report also points out that it will be interesting to see how much SoundExchange has spent on lobbying efforts. SoundExchange is actually barred from lobbying the government, but has been ignoring that for years by funding musicFIRST, a recording industry lobbying group that's trying to add a new license for radio stations to pay (collected by SoundExchange, of course) by claiming that radio is actually a form of piracy.

So, even if Choruss or these other collections societies seem to be designed with the best intentions in mind (and I'm sure they are), it seems that they're wide open to abuse -- which is yet another reason to be quite worried about simply handing over the entire industry's business model to such an operation.

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  1. icon
    MadJo (profile), 24 Mar 2009 @ 2:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's because they have paid their dues to SoundExchange to be able to get their money.

    Yes, indeed 'famous' artists generally aren't on that list, because most of them are signed to labels, and the label will make sure that they extract the money from SoundExchange. But SE refuses to do its job in finding the artists it is collecting royalties for (that includes indy-artists and in some cases even creative common artists.)

    SE has shown it can't be arsed to do its job. If a simple Google search gives you the name and address of most of these artists, and they still claim they can't find them. Then they are clueless numbskulls who are unfit to run a business.

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