Artist Spotlight

Artists May Lose Unclaimed Royalties from SoundExchange

No Comments 14 October 2012

Artists May Lose Unclaimed Royalties from SoundExchange

Last month, we published a stunning list of high-profile artists not registered to collect streaming radio royalties from SoundExchange, including Skrillex, Fleet Foxes, Swedish House Mafia, and A$ap Rocky, among many, many others.  These artists either refuse to register, forgot to register, or have no idea that they need to register at all.  Either way, many of those artists - including many lesser-known, struggling musicians - will begin losing these royalties for good starting Monday, October 15th.

According to this advisory from SoundExchange, artists that haven’t registered ‘may’ start surrendering royalties by Monday, October 15th, specifically for those collected three or more years ago.

“Register by Oct. 15 as you may risk losing any royalties collected three (3) or more years ago by SoundExchange.”

But wait: where’s all this unclaimed money ending up?  SoundExchange has grown notorious for accruing hundreds of millions in unpaid royalties, refusing straightforward questions about these holding balances, paying its executives hundreds of thousands in salaries, and spending considerable energy (and money) spinning against critics like Digital Music News.

Perhaps the bigger question is whether it makes sense to demand ever-increasing royalties from companies like Sirius XM, Pandora, and other streaming radio providers when those royalties only sometimes make it back to the proper rights holder. 

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