If you’re a musical artist or band member who has released any recorded material to the public (or a musician that has played on any recordings), you should have already registered with SoundExchange (we’ll tell you why momentarily). According to a report by Digital Music News, if you don’t register by today (October 15), you could begin missing out permanently on some serious royalties.
To make sure everyone is in the loop here…SoundExchange is a performance rights organization that monitors and collects royalties for music performed or broadcast on satellite radio and streaming Internet outlets (like Pandora)—similar to what organizations like ASCAP and BMI do for conventional radio and live performance. However, unlike these other performance rights entities, since digital media can be tracked, SoundExchange is able to royalties for every instance in which a song is played on these outlets (as opposed to polls and sample formulas). In short, every time your song is streamed on the Internet or satellite radio, SoundExchange collects royalties on your behalf—even if you have not yet registered with them. And depending on the situation, if you’re a musician who played on the recording, you may be owed money, too.
The thing is, you need to register with SoundExchange in order to receive the royalties owed to you. Many musical artists (including some well-known ones) don’t even realize they have money owed to them from these outlets! SoundExchange occasionally sends out press releases and reminders about tons of money that they have collected for these artists that has not yet been paid out, and encourages artists to check their searchable database to see if they are owed any royalties.
Now, as it turns out, the stakes just got higher. SoundExchange is warning that after today, October 15, 2012, royalties that have been sitting in their coffers for three years or more may no longer be paid out. This means that every day past today that you procrastinate registering with them is a day you could be permanently losing royalty money.
Registration for SoundExchange is an involved process, but it is free. If you have performed on any recorded material that might be streaming on Internet, satellite or cable TV radio stations, you owe it to yourself to register. You might be surprised at how much money is waiting for you.