The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and SoundExchange have launched a joint initiative to identify and distribute royalties for the digital performance of sound recordings.
The orgs made the announcement Wednesday. AFTRA said it will begin notifying more than 6,000 AFTRA recordings artists for whom SoundExchange has collected royalties from digital services that have streamed their recordings online.
SoundExchange provided AFTRA with a list of artists who are members of the union but not yet registered with SoundExchange. AFTRA plans to mail letters, send email notices and make direct person-to-person phone calls to all members who are due royalties.
“Increasingly, our world is evolving into the digital age,” said AFTRA national exec director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, who said digital technologies provide more opportunities for AFTRA recording artists to earn the income, such as the royalties collected by SoundExchange, they need to sustain their careers.
Hedgpeth is a board member of SoundExchange, which collects royalties on sound recordings played on satellite radio, Internet radio or digital cable services under provisions of U.S. Copyright law. Since 2001, SoundExchange has paid out more than $412 million in digital royalties but noted Wednesday that thousands of music professionals are not yet registered and millions of dollars in royalties are currently unclaimed.