Millions of Dollars of Digital Royalties Remain Unclaimed

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SoundExchange, a non-profit organization that collects royalties on behalf of sound recording copyright owners, claims that it has paid out over $412 million in digital royalties since 2001, but that millions more remain unclaimed. The organization, along with The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, announced this afternoon that they have “launched a joint initiative to identify and distribute royalties for the digital performance of sound recordings” in response to the situation. SoundExchange will provide the AFTRA with a list of AFTRA members who are not currently registered with SoundExchange. The AFTRA will then launch a campaign to notify members of their unclaimed earnings.

Variety spoke with AFTRA national executive director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, who commented on the challenges the organization faces advocating for its members while navigating the problems posed by the digital age:

Increasingly, our world is evolving into the digital age. This means more opportunities for AFTRA recording artists to share their creative contributions with a wider audience and more opportunities for our members to earn the income they need, such as the royalties collected by SoundExchange, to sustain their careers, support their families and continue enriching our culture and society through their gift of music.

Concerned that you, or someone you know, might have a claim to unpaid royalties? Take a look at the SoundExchange “Unpaid Artist List,” located here.