Los Angeles and Washington, DC - Jun 2, 2010 - The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and SoundExchange have launched a joint initiative to identify and distribute SoundExchange royalties owed to AFTRA member recording artists. Starting June 2, AFTRA will try to notify more than 6,000 AFTRA recordings artists for whom SoundExchange has collected royalties from digital services that have streamed their recordings online. SoundExchange provided AFTRA with a list of artists who are members of the union, but who are not yet registered with SoundExchange. AFTRA will mail letters, send e-mail notices and make direct person-to-person phone calls to all AFTRA member recording artists who are due royalties.
"SoundExchange is constantly reaching out to notify artists about their unclaimed royalties, yet it can be difficult to get them to register," said SoundExchange Executive Director John Simson. "Many don't know about the law that entitled them to these royalties, or believe it's too good to be true."
SoundExchange collects a royalty on behalf of the recording artists and the copyright holder when sound recordings are played on satellite radio, Internet radio or digital cable services. Since 2001, SoundExchange has collected and processed billions of spins and paid out more than $412 million in digital royalties, unfortunately thousands of music professionals are not yet registered and millions of dollars in royalties are currently unclaimed. AFTRA and SoundExchange have partnered to locate unregistered AFTRA recording artists and ensure the distribution of these payments.