Executive Profile: Meet Sean Glover, Senior Manager, Industry Relations, Soundexchange

Sean Glover is Senior Manager, Industry Relations, Soundexchange
Sean Glover is Senior Manager, Industry Relations, Soundexchange

What’s an average day for Sean Glover?

My role at SoundExchange is to increase our industry presence and visibility in both the entertainment and tech community. I talk to lots of artists, mangers, lawyers and labels every day about all aspects of our organization. Ultimately, I want SoundExchange to be top of mind when a recording artists, band or record label thinks about their digital performance royalties.

How much of your job is educating artists about the performance rights organization?

I would say 40 percent of my time is spent educating the public about Soundexchange, and the fact that we have royalties for artists and labels. We consider that time well spent, considering we have distributed more than $1.5 billion in digital royalties to the artists and labels that we represent. My time simply educating musicians and labels was much higher about seven years ago. I have definitely seen the shift from “who are you guys?” to “You guys saved my life.” It’s amazing when we reach out to an artist who truly relies on their digital performance royalties to make a living, and to hear their reaction

when we tell them we have money for them. What’s more is that artists participate immediately and directly in their royalty stream – meaning we pay them direct. The best part is that if they register with SoundExchange there is no fee, and no added fee for the benefit of international collections. Soundexchange is one of those organizations that sounds too good to be true, but really is!

Which are the biggest companies paying into artist performance royalties?

We are not able to comment on which digital radio services are the biggest paying companies. You can check the public records though and learn that many of the larger digital radio services have elected to use the statutory license we administer, including: Spotify Radio, Pandora, SiriusXM and iHeart Radio. In total, there are 2,000 services that work with us, and growing! It’s incredibly easy to start streaming and paying for the use of content. Services simply need to file a two-page paper with the Copyright Royalty Board stating they’ll send us their playlist reports and pay for the content they use. They do so and, in turn, 24,000+ registered copyright holders and more than 70,000 registered performer accounts are paid through SoundExchange.

Explain how SoundExchange differs from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.

SoundExchange empowers recording artists and record labels in a different way – we represent those that are featured on the sound recording for digital performances, while ASCAP, BMI and SESAC represent the composer of the song. The digital radio royalties are a new income stream for the performer of the sound recording. Whereas with AM/FM radio, they still do not receive payment for their creative contributions. So, digital radio, unlike its terrestrial counterpart, is contributing to the livelihood of the artists whose music we all enjoy.

What are the benefits in being a non-profit?

As a non-profit we have the ability to ensure that money goes directly back into the pockets of creators of music. Plus our low overhead rate, 5.3 percent, is one of the lowest in the industry. Our payments to artists and record labels are based on an open and transparent process supervised by our joint board (representing the entire recorded music industry).

Like the other PROs, has SoundExchange considered hosting artist development programs, such as artist showcases, forums, etc?

Absolutely. We are large sponsors of the SoundExchange Digital Broadcasting Summit, which is part of the New Music Seminar. We also plan to offer artist showcases – a place to debut or have their music heard live—and additional educational forums. We welcome recording artists and record labels to provide us with their stories for our testimonials page on the new Soundexchange.com. We also welcome those interested in performing at a showcase or provide us with content for our e-newsletter, SoundByte, to contact us at communications@soundexchange.com.

Can you compare the number of indie artists versus major artists when it comes to payouts?

While we don’t break down payments by indie versus major, I can tell you that 50 percent of performance royalties are paid directly to the featured artists on the recording and the other 50 percent of the performance royalties are paid to the owner of the sound recording (i.e., the owner of the “master”), which can be a record label or an artist who owns their own masters.

How much does an artist average per stream?

Different categories of licensing (i.e., webcasting, satellite, cable television, etc.) are subject to different rate structures for royalty calculations. As such, it’s difficult to provide an average. However, I can tell you that individual payments for artists and copyright holders are growing. From 2005-2012 artist payments increased from $6.5 million to $190 million. It’s important to note that not everyone we represent are megastars yet, our checks are for rising stars, megastars and everyone in between – 90 percent of the checks we send out are for working class artists who earn under $5,000 per year. These are real people with a passion for music!

To register and learn more about soundexchange, visit www.soundexchange.com