The music industry is quickly developing into something unrecognisable from previous generations. From the rise in online leaks, to social media collaborations to the birth and rise of streaming, the most recent developments would have been unimaginable fifty years ago. The latest look into the future was offered in September, when a company called Royalty Flow announced it would begin selling shares in some of their artists royalties. The first collection to test-drive the new system from Royalty Flow are the songs of Superstar rapper Eminem.
Royalty Flow is a subsidiary of a company known as Royalty Exchange. The company is in the early stages of purchasing sound recordings from FBT Productions (Owned by Jeff and Mark Bass). These sound recordings are those created by Eminem during the years 1999-2013. FBT Productions holds the royalties to these recordings and therefore are entitled to sell them to Royalty Exchange. In recent interviews and press statements, it was revealed that Royalty Exchange was planning to allow investors the opportunity to buy shares in the company, which would allow for them to earn money from the streaming and use of Eminem’s work and the work of its future artists. to the songs in a one-off payment rather than the drip-feed system in place for royalty income. In its current state, any potential investors would need to offer a minimum of $2,250, which is a minuscule price compared to the package offered by another company who are offering similar royalties. A company called Royalty Exchange is offering fans the chance to buy royalties to collections by Wiz Khalifa, Chris Brown, Ariana Grande and Lil Wayne for the premium price of $71,000.
The collection of Eminem’s work being offered by Royalty Flow include songs from the albums The Marshall Mathers LP, The Eminem Show, The Real Slim Shady, Relapse and Recovery and all albums released up to 2013. These albums include hit singles such as Stan, Till I Collapse, Mockingbird and Love The Way You Lie. Investors would be able to profit from the songs use on TV, in Films and in advertisements.
Reps for Eminem have made it clear that they were not contacted about this deal and have looked to further themselves from the company. They have not supported recent developments in relation to his royalty rights. However, they are unable to act, as the Bass brothers are the lawful owners of the some of the rights to his catalogue, and are therefore allowed to do as they so please.
The stocks are set to go live, according to the company’s press release, as soon as they get between $11 Million and $50 Million worth of investors involved. All the correct documentation has been sent to the US Securities Exchange Commission to have the stock featured on the public stock exchange, including NASDAQ, so it is only a matter of time before fans are offered the chance to buy, sell and trade rights to their favourite songs, and this will give the industry an invaluable look at the sustainability of this new model. Were it to be a success, it could be the start of the mass sale of royalties across the board, from both independent artists and labels, and could see the average fan become much more than just a partial bystander.
Updated, 14/11/2017: Correcting errors flagged by RoyaltyExchange