In 2021, US recorded music revenues reached $15 billion at retail, according to the RIAA’s annual year-end report. This figure was up 23% overall over the $12.1 billion clocked in 2020.

TikTok has released its own promotion and music distribution platform called SoundOn this week. The service is already live in the UK, US, Brazil, and Indonesia. It allows artists to upload their music directly to TikTok, RESSO, Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram, and others.

UK collecting society PPL is providing international royalty distribution services to its Icelandic counterpart, SFH. The new partnership is an effort to increase the amount of money distributed by SFH, and make the payment of royalties by SFH more accurate and efficient, states PPL.

In this newsletter:

Now, the details...
Compiled by Heidi Seo

Exploration Weekly - March 11, 2022

US Recorded Music Revenue Hit $15B in 2021, Topping Record - With a Catch: RIAA

Recorded-music revenues in the US reached $15 billion at retail in 2021, according to the RIAA’s annual year-end report. That figure exceeds the record-high water mark of 1999, when revenues reached $14.6 billion at the height of the CD boom. In 2021, revenues were up 23% overall over the $12.1 billion clocked in 2020, as streaming revenues alone surpassed that 2020 mark, having climbed 24% in the past year to account for $12.4 billion in 2021, or 83% of all recorded music revenues. On the sales side, digital downloads declined by 12%, and both CD sales revenue and vinyl album sales revenue grew in the same year. Physical sales altogether increased by 42.3% from 2020.

TikTok Just Launched Its Own Music Distribution Platform, SoundOn

TikTok is officially a music distributor now. The ByteDance-owned viral video app has just launched its own promotion and music distribution platform, called SoundOn. SoundOn is already live in the UK, US, Brazil and Indonesia, and it lets artists upload their music directly to TikTok and RESSO. It can also distribute their music to other platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Instagram. TikTok says that SoundOn pays out 100% royalties to music creators in the first year and 90% after that and provides a range of promotional tools and support. Artists signing up to the platform will also get access to audience insight and development, as well as “expert advice” from a dedicated SoundOn artist team.

PPL to Provide International Royalty Distribution Services to Icelandic Collecting Society

UK record industry collecting society PPL has announced a deal with its Icelandic counterpart, SFH. PPL says that, under the new partnership, it will “support SFH with the distribution of royalties to performers and recording rights-holders based outside of Iceland, helping to increase the amount of money distributed by SFH”. Basically, “SFH will send its airplay data to PPL, who will then identify the performers and recording rights-holders to pay by matching this data against recordings in its 20 million-strong repertoire database”. The UK society adds that it is confident its involvement in that process will make the payment of international royalties by the Icelandic society more accurate and efficient.

YouTube Steps Up Its Podcast Efforts with Video Funding

Bloomberg reported that YouTube is “extending offers of $50,000 to individual shows and $200,000 and $300,000 to podcast networks” to turn audio podcasts into videos for its platform. The company will be hoping to nurture a new generation of video podcast hits, encouraging shows to produce video as well as audio versions.

Dua Lipa Slammed with Two “Levitating” Copyright Infringement Lawsuits in Four Days

Dua Lipa was clobbered with two copyright infringement lawsuits in four days last week. Her global hit “Levitating,” which has spent 68 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, has drawn two lawsuits from songwriters claiming the song infringes on their compositions, according to multiple media reports. The first was filed March 1 by a Florida reggae group called Artikal Sound System, claiming that Lipa’s song lifts from their 2017 track, “Live Your Life.” In the second legal complaint, filed on March 4 in New York, songwriters L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer accused Lipa of copying both their 1979 song “Wiggle and Giggle All Night” and 1980 song “Don Diablo,” two tracks dating from the disco era. Reps for Lipa, Warner Music and the multiple writers and publishers connected to the song either declined or did not immediately respond to Variety’s requests for comment.

Random Ramblings

  • All the women with No. 1 Hot Latin Songs in the past 10 years.
  • How “Enter Sandman” changed Metallica forever.
  • Tears For Fears score their first hit album in 18 years.
  • How the modern remix came to be.
  • Billboard explains the value of streaming.

Who is Exploration?

Exploration is proud to be the company of choice to administer much of the world’s most important media. We rely on advanced technology and a competent, full-time staff of 50+ people to help our clients and partners better control their data and collect their money.

We wrote a free book on how the music business works.

Download our catalog metadata template, which offers the minimum viable data needed to collect publishing royalties.

To see who is collecting your royalties, request a free copyright audit.