At the MIDEM music industry conference taking place in Cannes, France, SoundExchange—the non-profit performance rights organization charged with the task of collecting and distributing digital performance royalties—and MySpace unveiled a partnership to identify and register thousands of artists and indie labels with unclaimed digital royalties.
SoundExchange has long reached out to artists and labels through social media networks. The partnership with MySpace opens a new and effective way to contact the more than 25,000 major, independent and unsigned artists who are registered with MySpace but not with SoundExchange. The unregistered artists are collectively owed more than $14 million in royalties (for the streaming of their music on Internet/satellite radio), held in escrow by SoundExchange.
"MySpace shares SoundExchange's devotion to artists," says Courtney Holt, President of MySpace Music. "This partnership is emblematic of our appreciation for indie, unsigned and major acts and enables these artists to reap the financial benefits of the digital music explosion."
When sound recordings are streamed on the Internet, played on digital satellite radio or used on cable music channels, the performers on that recording accrue a small royalty. SoundExchange collects those digital performance royalties, processes logs from services and distributes the payments to artists. Unlike other royalty societies, who collect and distribute only to their members, SoundExchange collects royalties for all performers, then has to locate and register artists so they can be paid.
As nearly every band releasing tracks has a MySpace page, SoundExchange is looking at methods of integrating the MySpace ID system as a way to verify a band's identity. For now, MySpace's reputation as a go-to hub for new artists will allow SoundExchange to identify new artists quickly, and encourage them to register for their royalties.
"It can be a challenge notifying and convincing artists to register with SoundExchange because don't know they're entitled to these royalties, or believe it's too good to be true." says Bryan Calhoun, SoundExchange's Vice President of New Media and External Affairs. "That is why it is important to work with partners who understand the value of our work and have existing relationships with those artists. MySpace has enormous reach and credibility in the artist community."