SoundExchange, Once Again, Warns Artists That If They Don't Register, It Might Keep Their Royalties

from the again? dept

You may recall that nearly a decade ago, people began to question why SoundExchange, the RIAA spinoff created to collect satellite and internet broadcasting royalties, was allowed to keep any of the money for artists it couldn't find. That resulted in some controversy, when people realized that it was sitting on over $100 million and suggesting it might keep the money for a big list of artists it couldn't find. After much uproar, SoundExchange backed down, and said that it wasn't, in fact, keeping the money. And, to its credit, in the past few years, SoundExchange has been very good about working a variety of angles to get artists signed up to get the money they're owed from such webcasting royalties (such as those Pandora was just talking about).

However, some artists still aren't signing up -- and SoundExchange is apparently giving people something of an ultimatum, in which they hint at the fact that, you know, if they wanted to they absolutely could just keep the money.
Register by Oct. 15 as you may risk losing any royalties collected three (3) or more years ago by SoundExchange.

SoundExchange is authorized by law to release older unclaimed royalties to offset our costs and distribute proportionally to those we already pay. We have repeatedly held off on doing this, but we need your help to spread the word and get recording artists and record labels to register.
As some have noticed there are some pretty big names on the "unclaimed" list. Swedish House Mafia, N.W.A., Billy Bob Thornton, Sublime, Fleetwood Mac, Rebecca Black, Louis CK, Grandmaster Flash, The Byrds, Charlie Sheen, Brother Ali... and a bunch of others. I'm pretty surprised that Rebecca Black and Louis CK haven't figured this out yet... but there's one name on the list that is stunning: Gene Simmons. Simmons is famous for being focused almost entirely on getting money, even to the point of saying that artists should sue their fans. You'd think that somewhere along the line he'd notice that he should register with SoundExchange to get what's owed to him.

For what it's worth -- while there were some legitimate concerns that SoundExchange was doing little to "find" these artists, I no longer believe that's the case. Having watched their efforts over the past few years, they really have done quite a lot to try to get artists to register. Of course, this really just highlights one of the problems of setting up a system like SoundExchange in the first place. Creating unnecessary middlemen may seem like a useful solution, but it often seems to just prevent more direct support of artists. Still, if you are a recording artist of any kind, it's worth getting registered to avoid having SoundExchange keep the money it has for you for itself.

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  1. identicon
    Casey, 12 Oct 2012 @ 7:22pm

    Good

    It's honestly about time this happened. Love or hate Sound Exchange, they do what they were setup to do. If artists can't help themselves, they shouldn't expect others to go out of their way for them and in this case, hold money indefinitely.

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