Inside Move: N.Y. state, labels set fund to pay musicians

Over $50 mil in royalties to be paid out

Recording artists and songwriters deemed “unreachable” by major record labels will be paid from a fund set up by the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the majors.

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer will announce today that more than $50 million in royalties will be paid to artists who have not been fully compensated and were listed as unreachable by the labels.

Among the names on the list are the estates of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley as well as Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and David Bowie.

The fund is the result of a settlement reached between New York and the majors. New York has a law that stipulates uncollected funds must go to the state. After the AG’s office became aware the labels were not giving uncollected royalties to the state, they began negotiations to settle.

Spitzer will be announcing a new procedure for the distribution of royalties at today’s press conference.

The Recording Artists Coalition, a nonprofit, D.C.-based org that addresses music industry issues, hailed the action from Spitzer.

“It’s high time labels realize that deceptive and fraudulent business practices will no longer be tolerated,” a RAC spokesman said.

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