SoundExchange, the organization that collects digital royalties, says their total was up 31% in 2014 from 2013. We’re not surprised. SE collected $773 million, up from $590 million, for registered recording artists. Most of it is from Sirius and Pandora. And there would be more of it if both of those digital services paid royalties to artists on pre-1972 recordings.
Thanks to lawsuits filed by the Turtles (their hits include “Happy Together” and “Elenore”), Sirius has been on the losing end of this saga. The Turtles’ Howard Kaylan has led the fight to get royalties for pre-1972 artists and recordings which constitute the bulk of Sirius’s playlists.
If you have Sirius, you know that the first few stations are devoted to the 50s, 60s, and early 70s. There are many other stations playing oldies, including my beloved Soul Town (49). Plenty of country music, show tunes, Sinatra–all of it is being played, essentially, for free with no money going to the people whose voices we hear on the radio.