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.
“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.