Digital radio performing rights organization SoundExchange has reported its first down quarter, thanks to new Pandora direct deals with rights holders. Collections were $161.9 million in 2017, compared to $189.3 million in the same quarter last year.
Overall collections are down at Pandora, but membership is soaring. "In Q1 2017 we distributed digital performance royalties to more members and registered more music creators than we ever did in any other first quarter since our inception more than a decade ago," SoundExchange said in a statement.
Royalties were sent to more than 32,000 payees in Q1, a 26% increase over Q1 2016. 10,000 new artists and rights owners joined the PRO in Q1, a 46% increase over the number of registrations in Q1 2016.
"We paid out $161.9 million in performance royalties in Q1. Royalties were lower than Q1 2016 mainly due to the impact of direct licenses that Pandora entered into with rights owners," said Pandora. "In these new agreements, Pandora is paying rights owners directly and SoundExchange is continuing to pay artist royalties directly for the service's ad-supported tier."