“Several hundred million dollars” of black box royalties owed to musicians and publishers


We have known for years that there are a large number of unpaid royalties from Spotify, Apple Music, and other digital service providers.

Known as the “Black Box Royalties”, these unpaid funds usually accumulate when a DSP cannot trace the author or publisher of a song.

Last year’s US Music Modernization Act was supposed to solve the problem by building a better song database and deciding how much “black box” money was owed to artists as well as how. it would be divided and poured out.

Things involving Washington move slowly and those who implement MMA are no exception. But thanks to a request from the Digital Licensing Coordinator seeking more information, part of the mystery is closer to being solved:

How much black box money is owed?

… (The) DLC estimated that several hundred million dollars were available to be transferred to the MLC as royalties payable, even after taking into account the derecognition of accrued liabilities based on pre-existing agreements containing waivers of claims for royalties payable.

Several hundred million dollars expects to be distributed to artists and music publishers without any firm promise as to how and when it will be distributed.

H / T to Chris Castle for finding out about the request. Here he offers an excellent in-depth analysis.

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