Unclaimed Cash for Artists – Join “Project Unfound Artist”

April 30, 2008
the default Apple visualiser is in the top left, LED Spectrum Analyzer on the right, and Gaslight in the bottom left.Image via Wikipedia

In this new music world of shattered revenue streams, it’s become all the more important for artists to be aware of where their money can come from. Licensing revenue and merchandising are two of the oft-quoted income streams that are now central to any artist’s attempt to sustain themselves.

But another important source of revenue is every artist’s right to be paid when their recordings are streamed on internet radio, satellite radio or cable or satellite television music services. The collection of these monies on artist’s behalf falls to an organization called SoundExchange in the U.S. (or it’s sister organization PPL when the performance occurs in the UK).

It’s safe to say, however, that many more people have signed up for iTunes than are aware of or registered with SoundExchange. According to this Wired article there are 7,700 artists who are due royalties but, as they’re unregistered with SoundExchange, they can’t be paid. If the money remains unclaimed after 3 years it go back into SoundExchange’s coffers. This may be a large part of the reason why there isn’t much of a push to find them in the first place.

To tackle the problem, entertaimnet lawyer Fred Willhelms and P2Pnet are moving to allow crowdsourcing to attempt to find the artists on the Unregistered Artist List

“Start tracking them down and letting them know they have money coming to them…

The next time you end up on hold, call up the list, Google a name, or search Facebook and MySpace.

“Send a note, or if you don’t feel like getting personally involved in the process, send the contact information to JSimson@soundexchange.com,” says Wilhelms.

“Get an artist paid.”

Of course, I’d advise that if you’re an artist, you make sure you’re registered with SoundExchange yourself first and foremost. Even if you’re not a US resident, you never know how your music is being used. And as services like YouTube become legit and start paying royalties, it’ll be SoundExchange who’ll make sure you’re compensated when someone uses your work.

It may not be a lot of money to start, but it’s a trickle that contributes to the stream.


Penny Distribution: The Hypebot Interview

April 11, 2008

Just a quickie to point you in the direction of an interview of Penny Distribution for Hypebot.com’s 4 Questions For… series.

Previous interviewees include Sonicbids, Imeem, Ning and Reverbnation, so what they wanted to talk to us about, we’ve no idea! 😉  Have a peek at:

4 Questions for…Penny Distribution

ISP Tax Part 2, MySpace Music and The Bad Old Days

April 10, 2008
MySpaceImage via Wikipedia

Bruce over at Hypebot today posted the full text of an email sent by digital distributor The Orchard to it’s label members regarding MySpace Music.

In it Greg Scholl, the head of The Orchard, sounds a warning note about proper compensation of indie artists who take part in the new Myspace service – a service who’s owners and equity holders currently comprise of 3 of the 4 majors and Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp.

“…the apparent MySpace licensing approach is troubling. It hearkens back to a time none of us wants to revisit … Where independent artists and labels were third-class citizens in the global music economy, instead of the second-class citizenship (with a good chance for an upgrade to first) that we enjoy today”

This isn’t the first of these kinds of deals. My last post discussed the new approach taken by Warner in hiring Jim Griffin to help explore ways of creating an ISP surcharge, added to a customer’s bill, that would allow unlimited music downloading. Any such scheme would also be largely owned and influenced by the majors and could result in more marginalization of independent music business and artists.

Indeed, the MySpace deal could be even more unfair, as majors and MySpace leverage the huge amounts of aggregated traffic that indie/unsigned artists bring to the site into revenue that those same indie artists will see little, if any, income from  Wired’s Listening Post Blog sounded a similar warning last Thursday.

In response to these growing concerns, we’ve been discussing a collective of artists and businesses with a number of other like-minded businesses with the aim of gathering and using our collective strength (the essence of the long tail) to push for our proper place at the table.

The idea is in it’s nascent stage, but if you’re interested or concerned, please join us and join in the discussion:


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