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Do I Need To Report My Royalties on My Taxes

With tax season upon us you may be wondering if you should report the money you earned through royalties on your taxes. The short answer is -- Yes, any money you have earned through royalties over ten dollars should be reported on your taxes. As a songwriter, you may need to report royalties earned from your publisher or administrator and PRO. As a musician, producer, or artist, you may need to report royalties earned from your record label, record distributor, and sound exchange. As a songwriter and artist, you may need to report royalties earned from your PRO, publisher, and record label. It depends on how you are earning royalties and how you have decided to enter the industry -- whether that be as an artist with a major label, as a songwriter with a publisher and PRO, as an artist signed with an independent label with control over publishing, as well as many other combinations. Check out our guide to find out more.

If you would like to learn more about our copyright administration services to find you unclaimed royalties, please visit our website.

In this newsletter:

New proposals in US Congress would introduce a performer equitable remuneration system on streaming paid for by a new levy applied to subscription fees. Monies generated by the levy would flow directly to performers via a new fund.

YouTube now has 100 million subscribers across its Premium & Music tiers (including free trials). That’s an increase of around 20 million subscribers since 2022. Content ID claims are also up 25% year-over-year—with rights holders choosing to monetize rather than ripping down user-generated content (UGC).

The Grammy Museum and Recording Academy have announced the Grammy Hall of Fame is returning on its 50th anniversary after a two-year hiatus.

Now, the details...

Exploration Weekly - March 8, 2024
Compiled by Ana Berberana

US Congress Members Propose New Performer Remuneration System Funded by a Streaming Levy

Two members of US Congress have proposed a Living Wage For Musicians Act which would basically introduce performer equitable remuneration on streaming, but funded by a levy applied to streaming subscriptions. And a pretty significant levy at that - 50% of the current subscription fee. "The popularity of streaming services has forever changed how people consume music and upended the economics of the industry in the process, creating a system of winners and losers that under compensates tens of thousands of recording artists and musicians for their art and labor", says an official statement from the Congress members proposing the act, Rashida Tlaib and Jamaal Bowman, who respectively represent Detroit and New York. “Streaming services wouldn’t exist without the brilliant work of artists who choose to share their music with these platforms”, adds Bowman. "Artists and musicians across the country deserve to be paid for their work. I represent the Bronx, the birthplace of hip hop, where music is the foundation of our communities. They all deserve to be paid fairly for their incredible and transformative art”. Under the proposals, the act explains, each streaming service would charge each subscriber “an additional fee in an amount equal to 50% of the subscription fee charged by the service provider, except that such additional fee shall not be an amount less than $4 or more than $10". The service would then pay the money generated by that levy - plus 10% of its non-subscription revenues - to a new entity that would be called the Artist Compensation Royalty Fund. That Fund would then make payments directly to performers, with 90% of monies flowing to the main artists on each track, and 10% flowing through to session musicians.

YouTube Music & Premium Cracks 100 Million Subscribers, Content ID Claims Up 25% in 2023

YouTube says it paid more than $70 billion dollars to creators, artists, and media companies in the last three years prior to 2024. That’s up $20 billion from the $50B+ figure reported in 2022—highlighting how rights holders are choosing to monetize content. YouTube now has over 100 million Premium and Music subscribers across 100 countries as of January 2024. It also touts more than $9 billion paid out to rights holders through its Content ID service, its most complex rights management tool that’s available to movie studios, record labels, and collecting societies. Here’s a quick reminder of how that service works. YouTube and its Content ID partners enter into an agreement that allows YouTube to scan its network for ‘fingerprints’ it created of rights holder content. Partners provide YouTube with reference files for the works they own, metadata, and detailed ownership rights. Content ID then scans YouTube uploads and alerts rights holders in the YouTube Studio Content Manager. Rights holders can then choose to either block, monetize, or track matching content. In the first half of 2023, rightsholders chose to monetize over 90% of all Content ID claims on the platform, with YouTube processing over 980 million claims. That’s a 25% increase compared to last year, with only 8,900 rightsholders issuing Content ID claims in that period.

The Grammy Hall of Fame Is Back—After Two-Year Hiatus

The return will be celebrated with an inaugural gala and concert on May 21, 2024 at the NOVO Theater in Los Angeles. The Grammy Hall of Fame was established by the Recording Academy’s National Trustees in 1973 to honor recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance that are at least 25 years old. Inductees are selected annually by a special member committee of professionals from all branches of the recording arts with final ratification by the Recording Academy’s National Board of Trustees. This year the Hall will bring forth 10 new inducted recordings—four albums and six singles. There are currently 1,152 inducted recordings in the Grammy Hall of Fame. Inductees for 2024 will be announced at a later date. The Grammy Hall of Fame Gala will be the first of what will become an annual event, including a red carpet and VIP reception on the Ray Charles Terrace at the Grammy Museum followed by a one-of-a-kind concert at the NOVO Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Produced by longtime Executive Producer of the Grammy Awards, Ken Ehrlich, along with Chantel Sausedo and Ron Basile. Musical Direction by globally renowned producer and keyboardist Greg Phillinganes. Tickets and performers will be announced at a later date. The Grammy Museum is currently celebrating its 15th anniversary as a non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating and exploring music from yesterday and today to inspire the music of tomorrow through exhibits, education, grants, preservation initiatives, and public programming.

Elon Musk’s X Can’t Shake Music Publishers’ Multi-Million Dollar Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

A court in Tennessee is allowing a group of music publishers to proceed with certain elements of their multi-million dollar copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Elon Musk’s social media platform, X (or Twitter). The lawsuit was filed in June last year by 17 companies represented by the National Music Publishers Association. Their complaint seeks over $250 million in damages for “hundreds of thousands” of alleged infringements of approximately 1,700 works. Two months on from the launch of that litigation, X filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the complaint. In a decision published on Tuesday (March 5), Federal Judge Aleta A. Trauger granted X’s motion to dismiss in part, but also denied it in part. The publishers’ original complaint included three counts against Twitter/X, suing the company for direct, contributory, and vicarious infringement, respectively. The court dismissed the direct infringement claim, referring to case law to argue that X/Twitter wasn’t an active participant in the alleged infringement by its users, but rather provided the platform for it. According to Trauger, “X/Twitter was more like a telephone company — providing the mechanism for communication between independent communicators—than like a cable company that actively selects material to make available”. Trauger also dismissed the publishers’ vicarious infringement claim, noting that “as with the issue of direct infringement, the plaintiffs are trying to force X Corp’s actions into a category not intended to account for the actual character of the relationships at issue, when there is a tool — the doctrine of contributory infringement — uniquely suited to the job”. The court is also dismissing the contributory infringement claim, “insofar as it seeks to assert a theory of comprehensive general liability for infringement across the X/Twitter platform”. However, the court said it will permit the music publishers to proceed, “with regard to the three potentially unlawful practices” alleged as part of the contributory infringement claim and “any instances of infringement attributable to those practices”.

Random Ramblings

  • Authenticity and AI entered the chat at this year’s Country Radio Seminar.
  • SZA replaces herself at No. 1 on the Hot R&B Songs Chart with ‘Saturn’.
  • Number of independent record shops in the UK hits a 10-year high.
  • Is TikTok Losing More Music? — NMPA Says It Isn’t Renewing Its TikTok License.
  • The symphony of change tracing the evolution of music genres.

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