A timely editorial in the Nashville newspaper, The Tennessean, praised the recent YouTube and National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) settlement. YouTube’s massive music user base, over 800 million listeners, alongside Spotify’s 50 million paid subscribers, adds significantly to global recorded music sales of $15 billion dollars in the United States. The article’s author, Alex Heiche, is a dedicated believer in both the immense influence of music and the need for creators to subsist in challenging times. The founder and CEO of Sound Royalties, he has devised a method for songwriters, publishers and producers to receive advances and funding. Sound Royalties offers noncredit based advances––from $5K to $10M dollars––while allowing clients to retain all rights to music.
“Songwriters shouldn’t sell their copyrights,” says Heiche. “In 99.9 percent of their work, they are writing about the pain and joy of their lives, and they’ll never get paid for it. It’s that lightning in the bottle that strikes. They don’t know which one of their stories will pay. And they should be fairly compensated.”
Sound Royalties has close to 100 employees working in the West Palm Beach, FL complex. “We can predict what’s coming down the pipeline,” says Heiche. “We analyze the history. Or sometimes we have someone with a brand new hit and no history, and based on how the song has charted so far, we can figure out what it’s going to pay over the next year.”
Read More: Close Up: Sound Royalties
The dilemma that many songwriters face is the lengthy period of time it takes to be paid. “A song that is charting right now is going to take about a year for revenue to flow through,” says Heiche. “So if you can just calculate the estimated plays and compare other streams that have similar success and see what they paid out in that time period, you can correlate it.”
Alex Heiche says that his own path to working with creative people was circuitous. “I started as a child concentrating on the piano. My first love is music, but it didn’t take me long to realize that it wasn’t my first language. I could mechanically learn anything, but it bothered me, because it wasn’t speaking to the soul that was coming out of me.”
He found that the computer world was a place where his skills were compatible. “The computer industry was recruiting people with musical backgrounds. The way a musician’s brain is wired, their creativity, their knack for math, it works with the way that software is created. I ended up going to the computer world and worked with some software companies. I worked with a small one that exploded, then to another one. I wanted to find my way back to music. In 2003 I started working in entertainment funding, and that evolved to where we are today which is music and songwriters and the beauty of it all.”
In addition to advancing money that is in the pipeline, Sound Royalties also discovers uncollected revenue. “Our job is to look at income streams. Last year alone we found around $8.5 million in undistributed income for 400 artists.”
Educating the public about the value of songs, Heiche says, is a complex undertaking. “They think that their favorite artist wrote that song. They have no clue that maybe a songwriter sat in the room and wrote it, or songwriters wrote a song, sent it to the artist’s management who then went back to the songwriter and said, ‘We’re going to cut it but we want co-writing credit.’ This sells records, downloads and streams—this concept that the artist created it and is singing about his or her own life.”
And legislation, Heiche notes, is behind the curve. “There are laws that are 50 years old that dictate how a songwriter or artist is going to get paid. Now tech companies can move much faster. Consumption of music is at an all time high, but that isn’t represented in each individual check that we see. I’d like to see the copyright laws evolve as quickly as the technology evolves, so it’s a fair game.”
For more information, visit SoundRoyalties.com.