Media and entertainment union SAG-AFTRA and SoundExchange, the independent organization that collects and distributes royalties for the streaming of sound recordings on digital radio, have teamed up. Together they identified SAG-AFTRA members who may have a cumulative $2.3 million in unclaimed royalties for the use of their recordings from 2,500+ digital radio services.
SAG-AFTRA and SoundExchange conducted an extensive crosscheck between their two databases to identify nearly 2,000 union member performers who are potentially owed royalties. A large number of those identified as potentially having royalties collected by SoundExchange on their behalf include actors and comedians, who are likely unaware they are owed money. All members identified are receiving communications via U.S. mail and email alerting them to the waiting money, and directing them to SoundExchange’s simple (and free) online registration.
“Royalties are an important revenue stream, not just for our recording artist members, but for all our members whose recordings are played on some type of digital platform,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White. “Anytime we can assist our members in collecting money for their professional work, we’re happy to help. SoundExchange has been a great partner with the union and we’re grateful that this organization exists for our members’ benefit.”
“While we are best known for our focus on music, SoundExchange also collects royalties for actors, comedians and spoken word recordings,” said SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe. “The match with SAG-AFTRA allows SoundExchange to reach all of these important performers (both music and non-music) who are entitled to their share of royalties from streaming radio services. We are pleased with the union’s efforts to help register their eligible members, and look forward to working with them on future initiatives.”
When sound recordings are streamed on certain digital services, including satellite radio, Internet radio and cable TV music channels (such as iHeart Radio, Pandora, SiriusXM and Music Choice), SoundExchange collects a royalty on behalf of both performers and copyright holders, as directed under U.S. Copyright Law. Since 2001, SoundExchange has collected and paid out more than $2 billion in digital royalties. SAG-AFTRA and SoundExchange have partnered to locate unregistered SAG-AFTRA members to ensure that they know about this important revenue stream and urge them to take the steps necessary to collect the royalties that they are owed.