p2pnet view Music:- According to their 2008 IRS 990 form, SoundExchange, as of 12/31/2008, was holding over $256 MILLION dollars in undistributed royalties, an increase of almost 30% from the same figure the year before.
The amount held in “investments” nearly doubled from $100 million to $200 million.
Can you imagine how much worse these numbers would be if SoundExchange wasn’t doing the really, really good job they tell us they are?
According to that website, as of today (2/4/10), they’ve paid out $361 million in royalties. If, in the last 13 months, SoundExchange has added $105 million to that undistributed pile (which would be just about what they added to those “investments” during 2008), then SoundExchange is managing to pay out only about half of the money they promised they would.
I’m sure Laura Williams would love to explain how that proves SoundExchange is doing a good job for artists, but clearly her job description is limited to telling people she will answer questions rather than actually answering questions.
In “We’re not the RIAA, really, we’re not” news, in 2008, SoundExchange reported paying approximately $1.9 million to the law firm and the lobbying firm they share with the RIAA. I’m sure this is just a coincidence, given that there are so few law firms and lobbyists in Washington to choose from.
Perhaps the choice of lawyers and lobbying firms is the result of that “horsetrading” that Dick Huey swears goes on in the Boardroom. You know, the negotiation between conflicting interests that ends up with the RIAA getting to pay who they want what they want and, in trade, Mr Huey getting to stay on the Board and tell people he’s independent.
And, from the “not paying artists is good business” desk, the tax return shows that the top three employees (who, we should remember, all used to draw RIAA paychecks), all got really nice raises and in fact pulled down over 25% of the entire payroll for the year.
Imagine how much these guys will be worth if terrestrial radio royalties become law and they fail to distribute hundreds of millions a year!
Someone is going to have to spin these numbers really hard to make it seem like SoundExchange is doing a good job for artists, but thankfully, SoundExchange can rely on the public relations firm of Daniel J. Edelman LLC to spread the word.
Edelman earned it’s spurs representing the tobacco industry and issuing “studies” that minimized the health risks from second hand smoke.
Furthermore, the PR firm showed it’s good sense of timing, if not it’s ethical standards, by making a large campaign contribution to Gov. Rod Blagojevich just as it was being awarded a $6.2 million dollar contract by the state of Illinois when it was not the low bidder. Sounds like some of that good old-fashioned horsetrading, doesn’t it?
In 2008, SoundExchange paid Edelman $320,000 for PR services, according to that tax return. That works out to be about $600 per member of Congress, which is chicken feed compared to that $256 million dollar pile of undistributed royalties. I’d say they’re worth every penny.
So, again, kudos to SoundExchange and it’s Board of Directors. As of a year ago, they’ve managed not to pay artists a quarter of billion dollars.
Who knows what the total is today? You don’t achieve that level of performance overnight. It takes real focus and determination.
Fred Wilhelms – p2pnet
[If the corporate music industry had any ethics, Wilhelms would be its 'ethicist-in-chief,' wrote CounterPunch's Dave Marsh. Wilhelms is an entertainment attorney based in Nashville, Tennessee. You can contact him at fred.wilhelms @ gmail dot com. ]
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First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Laura Williams – SoundExchange and the ‘unpaid pool’, December 23, 2009
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