Reporting Classical Artists

Jun 8, 2011

Attention those of you who stream (and report to SoundExchange on) classical music. Consider the following chart that’s based on reporting data from Q1 2011 for stations covered by the CPB-SoundExchange webasting agreement:

This chart reflects the most performed artists as reported by the 300+ stations that we generated SoundExchange reports for in Q1 2011. A “performance” is one transmission of a song to a stream listener (not just spins).

So, according to the data we received, The Decemberists were the most performed artists on CPB-covered stations in Q1 (HAPPY NOTE: No sign of Justin Bieber!).

“OK,” you say, “And?” These findings are no real surprise.

Right, but look a little more closely at the chart. Who comes in as the second most performed artist in Q1? That’s right: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Also high on the list are Beethoven and Bach.

Having seen Amadeus many times (great flick!), I know for a fact that Mozart is dead. Long dead. As are, I’m pretty sure, Beethoven and Bach.

Now, I wasn’t a history or music major (I went with economics – big mistake), but I’m pretty sure they all diedwell before the first ever sound recording was made, which means none of them could possibly be the featured artist on a sound recording, which is who receives the digital performance royalties that SoundExchange collects and distributes.

Plus, even if one of them were still alive, they were all composers, not performers. Composers and songwriters don’t get paid by SoundExchange; performers do!

See the problem now?

When reporting the performance of a classical piece, you MUST MUST MUST report the featured artist/group/orchestra on the recording, NOT the composer.

By not properly reporting the performing artist you are not only not in compliance with the SoundExchange reporting requirements, you are also preventing those artists from getting paid by SoundExchange.

Not good.

SoundExchange themselves just wrote about this issue on their blog.

Please make sure that you are properly reporting artists in the future. Classical musicians have it hard enough; let’s not make it harder by keeping them from getting some of that money that CPB paid to SoundExchange for the music you stream…