Professional musicians know that royalty payments and the concept of transparency are mutually exclusive. As we mentioned briefly in our seventh episode , “The Transparency Moment,” the current performance royalty payment system is antiquated and fragmented. Payments can take months to be sent out and usually arrive via paper check. Some payments don’t even reach rights holders because records of who owns what are incomplete or incorrect. Those payments are trapped in what David Byrne called the music industry’s black box. Black box lost revenues are said to be in the millions of dollars, but we might not be locked out of that box forever.
There’s a new episode of Musonomics, and it’s all about transparency in the music industry — or the lack thereof.