SoundExchange is the non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. and designated by the United States Copyright Office to collect and distribute royalties from Webcasters, satellite radio services and other digital music providers to recording artists and record labels. SoundExchange is embarking on a major campaign to reach approximately 9,000 unregistered recording artists and approximately 2,000 unregistered independent record labels, as the deadline to sign up to receive digital performance royalties collected between 1996 and 2000 fast approaches.
Under federal law, royalties that are not claimed by recording artists and record labels within three years of SoundExchange’s receipt of such royalties are forfeited and the royalties are applied to offset actual costs incurred in the collection, distribution, establishment and enforcement of statutory royalties. The SoundExchange Board of Directors, jointly controlled by representatives of recording artists and record labels, has extended that deadline on numerous occasions, but claims to royalties paid for the years 1996 through March 31, 2000 will not be accepted after December 15, 2006.
In an effort to educate and notify recording artists of their entitlement to royalties, SoundExchange has worked for years with the major record labels, independent labels, The Recording Academy, CD Baby, Celebrity Access, Disc Makers, The Blues Foundation, The Vocal Group Hall of Fame, American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), The Folk Alliance, IAJE, ASCAP, SESAC, BMI, and numerous others, including many individual artist management companies, business management firms and law firms, to notify approximately 22,000 recording artists of the royalties they may be entitled to under federal law with the passage of the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.
SoundExchange executives and staff have also located and registered performers through their participation at music industry events including the Vocal Group Hall of Fame induction ceremony, SXSW, MIDEM and scores of music conferences across the U.S., Europe and Canada.
Registrations at SoundExchange have increased dramatically over the past two years; however, approximately 9,000 recording artists are still at risk of forfeiting royalties if they do not register with SoundExchange by December 15, 2006. While SoundExchange has taken tremendous strides to reduce this number from 30,000 as recently as a year ago, SoundExchange is hopeful that all recording artists and record labels at risk of forfeiting royalties can be registered within the next three months.
In a final attempt to notify unregistered record labels and recording artists or their heirs that they are at risk of forfeiting royalties, SoundExchange has published the list of names on its Website, www.soundexchange.com, 90 days prior to the December 15, 2006 deadline.
Registration forms are available for download on the SoundExchange Website, or one may call SoundExchange at 202/828-0120 to request copies by fax, e-mail or U.S. Mail. Registration materials must be postmarked or faxed to SoundExchange by December 15, 2006.
For more information, visit www.soundexchange.com.