SoundExchange’s new royalties tool designed to help musicians get paid

woman listening to music
A lot has been made about the dearth of music royalties for musicians in the digital music age. There are plenty of places to point the finger, but one of the most basic reasons musicians don’t get paid when they should is the sheer complexity of tracking them down to deliver royalty payments when their music is played across any of the wide array of Internet, satellite, and traditional radio platforms now on the open market.

SoundExchange wants to help change all that. The performance rights organization has added a new online tool that will allow music fans and industry members alike to get metadata for their favorite digital recordings, and the company to distribute millions of dollars in unpaid royalties to musicians worldwide.

SoundExchange collects and distributes royalties on behalf of rights holders like record labels and musicians. The company alone currently has tens of millions of dollars in undistributed royalties because of incomplete International Standard Recording Codes (ISRC) numbers, according to Billboard. The codes are comprised of a two number country code, three character code for the registrant, and two numbers for the year, and they’re overseen by the RIAA in the U.S.

That data can then be used to track down and deliver music royalties to the proper parties from sources like Internet streaming services and traditional radio, in addition to other commercial settings where music is played from digital files. The new tool allows anyone to look up recordings and attach the codes, and SoundExchange has included the IRSC codes for its entire catalog of 20 million songs online.

Giving music fans and industry members access to an easy search engine for the codes is the company’s first step in solving the royalties issue.

“I think this is another step in the positive journey toward providing better information for the industry,” said SoundExchange president Michael Huppe.

The new online tool is easy to use, allowing anyone to look up music by artist name, track title, or release name, and narrow their results from a list of releases. There is even an advanced option that includes searches for song version, year, and file type, as well as a way to look up a recording by its actual ISRC number — presumably to ensure it is accurate.

With it’s new search engine, SoundExchange hopes to slowly whittle away at its unpaid royalty payments, and to help move the digital playback world towards one which always has complete information as to who should be paid per play.

Emerging Tech

Astronomers plan to beam Earth’s greatest hits into deep space, and you can help

A new project from the SETI Institute (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) will give the public the chance to submit compositions to be beamed into space, with the aim of connecting people around the world through music.
Emerging Tech

Cheese tastes different when it listens to Led Zeppelin, Swiss study finds

A funky new study says that exposing cheese to music changes its aroma and flavor. What’s more, the genre of music matters. Researchers from the Bern University of Arts played music to nine, 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese.
Mobile

Google hit with another fine by the EU, this time for $1.7 billion

Google has been fined for the third time by the EU, this time for breaching antitrust laws by requiring third-party websites using its search function to prioritize its ads over competitors.
Emerging Tech

Cosmic dust bunnies: Scientists find unexpected ring around Mercury

A pair of scientists searching for a dust-free region near the Sun have made an unexpected discovery: a vast cosmic dust ring millions of miles wide around the tiny planet Mercury.
Home Theater

SoundCloud hopes to add listeners with 50 percent discount for students

SoundCloud launched a student discount for it's top-tier SoundCloud Go+ membership, dropping the price to just $5 a month. It's a good deal for students, but will it be enough to keep the music platform from going under?
Computing

Don't spend hundreds on Pro Tools or Logic. Try one of these free alternatives

Believe it or not, Pro Tools isn't the only digital audio workstation worth your time. Check out our picks for the best free recording software, whether you're looking for a lightweight app or a full-blown audio workstation.
Home Theater

iPhone owners can finally hear the highest-quality streaming music on Tidal

If you're an iPhone owner who is after the highest possible audio quality from your streaming library, you now have the best option out there: Tidal's Masters Quality Audio (MQA) is now available on iOS.
Home Theater

Get loud with the best outdoor speakers to rock your party in any weather

From rugged, solar-powered backwoods listening companions to floating pool party jam boxes, the best outdoor speakers partner with your lifestyle to let you listen to your favorite tunes wherever you go.
Music

Apple Music offers a few subscription options. We break them down here

Competition for music streaming apps is quickly dwindling with giants like Apple Music and Spotify dominating most of the market? But how much does Apple Music cost and what does a subscription to the music-streaming platform entail?
Home Theater

If you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber, you now get Hulu for free

Spotify Premium subscribers have yet another reason to love the Swedish streaming service, with the company now offering ad-free Hulu accounts to all premium users at no additional cost.
Music

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've handpicked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.
Music

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Home Theater

Apple Music completes its Amazon migration, is now available on Fire TV

Amazon's popular Fire TV devices are now compatible with the most popular on-demand music streaming service in the United States, thanks to a new integration with Apple Music that has finally hit Fire TV devices.
Emerging Tech

This streaming music service pays artists in Bitcoin, plants trees if you listen

Feedbands is an environmentally friendly subscription streaming music service that pays its artists in Bitcoin, and plants trees in exchange for authenticated listens from customers.