Free SoundExchange Artist Webinar Today & 10 Reasons Artists Don’t Register

Register for Our Webinar

Digital royalties collection group SoundExchange is offering a free webinar open to the first the 1,000 musicians to register today at 2:00pm EST.  Participants will learn about SoundExchange, maximizing digital performance royalties , the process of getting their money, and activities in Congress that will affect their career.  Daryl P. Friedman, VP, Advocacy & Government Relations, The Recording Academy, will join to discuss  others issues facing musicians.

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SoundExchange is also continuing its efforts to distribute money collected from digital and satellite music providers to artists. They'd been criticized for not delivering money to artists who could have been  easily found with a Google search. But, at least since this campaign, the roadblock  has often proven to be the artists themselves rather than SoundExchange. Unaware or perhaps suspicious of who SoundExchange is, some artists have still failed to take the simple steps needed to receive money due them.

The latest chapter in Sound Exchange's ongoing effort to educate artists
is this list of The Top Ten Reasons Artists Don’t Register with
(And 10 Reasons They Should):

Too good to be true: Believe SoundExchange isn’t for real, or that
there are strings/payments attached to money.

We hear this one a lot. We’ve all received emails from
third-world “princes” and mailings about free cruises or sweepstakes
winnings. So when artists hear about SoundExchange, even from people
they know, sometimes they disregard it as ‘too good to be true.’ Well,
we’re glad to be able to reassure you: SoundExchange is very real, and
so is the money we distribute to artists and copyright holders: $149.5
million* in 2009 alone. There are no strings attached, either.
Registration and membership with SoundExchange are always 100% free,
don’t impact your rights to your tracks, and won’t prevent you from
making private licensing deals with any music-using service. We’re a
non-profit, and we just want to get you the money you’ve already earned.

Lack of education: don’t understand what SoundExchange is, where this
right/royalty/revenue comes from.

SoundExchange, the non-profit performance rights organization which
collects and distributes digital performance royalties, is relatively
young. Even the artists’ and copyright holders’ right to be paid a
royalty when sound recordings are used has only been around since 1995.
Many people who might potentially receive these royalties don’t know how
these royalties are generated, don’t know that they’re entitled to
collect them, or don’t know how to go about claiming their share. Check
out our history and how it works here.

3. Lack
of differentiation between copyrights/performance rights organizations
(PROs): Believe that ASCAP, BMI, SESAC membership covers all performance
royalties for them, or believe that registering with SoundExchange will
jeopardize other PRO status.

Many artists we talk to are members of ASCAP, BMI or SESAC, and think that
either these organizations cover the same rights as SoundExchange, or
that signing up with SoundExchange will somehow jeopardize their
membership with these other performance rights organizations. Neither is
true. Our friends at ASCAP, BMI and SESAC pay songwriters and
publishers. SoundExchange compensates performers and copyright owners
for the sound recording itself. If you’re both the performer and the
songwriter, you get paid twice. Either way, all performers who also
write music should be signed up with either ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC, and
ALSO with SoundExchange. They’re two separate sources of money and are
not in conflict.

Procrastination/confusion: Have heard about SoundExchange or performance
royalties, but haven’t gotten around to filling out the forms, believe
the registration process is cumbersome or complicated, or have forgotten
they meant to do it.

The SoundExchange staff talks to people every day about registering to
receive these royalties. But even after several personal contacts from
our staff and in many cases, their own friends who are also getting
paid, an astounding number of people haven’t done it. Whether they
haven’t gotten around to it, or because they’re intimidated by the
forms, they don’t register.

We know that registering with SoundExchange can sound a little
complicated. Realistically, we can’t control the kinds of information we
need, like personal data and tax forms, because we’re independently
audited and because these royalties are taxable income. Plus, we need to
ensure that we are paying the correct person. Our customer care team
will work with you to help make the process as easy as possible.

Registration is the only way to claim the royalties you’ve earned,
and it’s your responsibility to make getting paid a priority!

5. Low/incorrect expectations: Potential
registrant does not register because they think they will not have a
large enough check to warrant the effort, didn’t know digital plays
could earn royalties, or believe only big-name artists are eligible.

Because of the proliferation of satellite and Internet radio,
independent and up-and-coming artists are getting more play than ever
before, and under the law which governs digital performance royalties,
an up-and-coming guitarist gets exactly the same per-track rate as the
biggest international star. SoundExchange has more than 45,000* artists
registered – many of whom aren’t full-time musicians. Not everyone gets
hundred-thousand dollar checks, but whether you’ve got $40, $500, or
$3,000 waiting, it’s money you’ve already earned. And once you’re
registered, you’ll be paid quarterly every time you’re owed, so the
money will keep trickling, flowing, or pouring in!

6. Data confusion:
Inability to provide data SoundExchange requires, or which they believe
SoundExchange requires: ISRC codes, tax ID for band, royalty splits,

While SoundExchange’s account services team appreciates having all the
data we can, in order to make sure everyone’s paid efficiently and
fairly, we don’t require any of these items for registration. Most of
the information we need is easy to find, and doesn’t require any legal
knowledge. If you register and something’s missing, we’ll get in touch.
Don’t let it stop you from signing up.

7. Registration confusion: Potential registrant
believes that they are already signed up because a band mate is signed
up, they believed their manager signed them up, or thinks registering to
use the PLAYS database is the same as registration.

If your band or group isn’t registered as a legal entity (e.g. The
Electric Amoebas, Inc
), each member should register individually.
One performer’s registration doesn’t automatically sign up his band
mates. We have lots of money for groups where only one member has signed
up, and the remaining portions of the money are waiting at
SoundExchange for the other members to claim them.

If you believe someone else has signed you up, call SoundExchange and
make sure. Also, many artists have registered to use our PLAYS database, which does collect a bit of
personal information, but is NOT the same as registering to receive your

If you’re not registered, get registered. If you are registered, tell
a band mate or a friend. If you’re not sure, check.

8. Recipient rights confusion: Potential
registrant believes they are not eligible to register solo because they
don’t own the masters, are under contract with a label, and/or are no
longer in contact with their band mates.

No matter what your agreement with a label, the featured
performer or group on a track is entitled to 45% of SoundExchange
royalties. That portion is paid directly to the artist, no matter who
owns the masters. The law that governs SoundExchange’s distribution of
royalties supersedes private agreements, and digital performance
royalties are not recoupable. If you’re no longer in touch with your old
band mates and don’t know what your split is, register with
SoundExchange anyway. We will give an even portion to each member unless
there’s a conflict. All you have to do receive it is register.

9. Inaccessible artists: Artist has left
the business or is deceased.

Music is immortal; people and careers aren’t. SoundExchange collects
royalties for every track played – that includes the tracks of artists
who haven’t picked up an instrument in twenty years, who’ve long since
given up their industry contacts, and even those who’ve passed away.
Heirs and estates are still eligible to be paid these royalties, but
it’s even more difficult for people outside the music industry to hear
about SoundExchange and digital royalties.

10. The artist doesn’t
like money? They think they’re already overpaid? They’re too busy caring
for their pet rocks to fill out the forms?

Honestly, we’re not sure why it’s so hard to get artists to register to
receive their royalties. The best way to sway people is by
word-of-mouth: that is, when someone they know and trust tells them
about royalties from SoundExchange. So help us spread the word, and we
can help every artist get paid when they get played.

Register at

*All statistics and information accurate as of April 2010.

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