Canadian copyright collective Re:Sound posted a record $50.6-million in revenue in 2018 with distribution to rights holders totaling $43.8-million, the largest pay-out to music creators since the not-for-profit agency’s founding in 1997.
Domestic income from neighbouring rights was flat at $38.4-million, but international collections increased 39% over 2017, to $9.6-million, primarily as a result of its bilateral agreement with SoundExchange that collects and distributes royalties for the featured artist and the sound recording copyright owner when content is played on a non-interactive digital source such as cable and satellite music distribution services.
Dampening Re:Sound’s upward income curve is the amount received from the Canadian Private Copying Collective that is mandated by the Copyright Board to collect a private copying levy on various recordable CDs. Once a popular format for copying music, streaming has driven down demand, resulting in a payment to Re:Sound in the past year of $900,000 (from a peak of $38-million collected by the CPCC in 2004).
One of the most significant investments in the past several years has been populating Re:Sound’s massive database with correct metadata that allows it to both recognize copyright ownership and process payments to rights holders. In part, the substantial increase in foreign income through SoundExchange is the result of both orgs combing through their databases to synchronize metadata. In 2018, Re:Sound processed 16-million maker and performer transactions (a 70-percent increase over 2017) and 1.8-billion sound recording performances.
Reviewing highlights in the past year, out-going president Ian MacKay states: “As you look through our report (an online version is available at 2018.resound.ca/en), you will see our efforts to deliver value to music creators throughout. Whether it’s the launch of Entandem (our licensing joint venture with SOCAN), Re:Sound’s collaboration with CONNECT (improving data collection from radio stations and efficiency in royalty distribution), or active participation in the Copyright Act Review, or our education and outreach at industry events.”
Summarizing highlights in his decade as CEO, MacKay states that “in the last decade, we’ve achieved aggressive revenue growth (250%), expansion in revenue sources – including new public performance and streaming tariffs, as well as international revenues – and 30% cost reductions. International revenues in 2018 stood at a record $9.5-million. By contrast, in 2009, they were zero.”
In 2018, approximately 50% of the monies distributed went through the collective’s member organizations, with the balance going to artists and labels signed-up directly with Re:Sound or through international agreements.