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Your Music Publishing Questions Answered


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At SoundExchange, they are often asked by recording artists and rights owners alike about who is responsible for whose royalties, how they get distributed, and which royalties SoundExchange doesn't administer. Here they share the answers to some of the most frequent questions.

Guest post by William Glanz of SoundExchange

We get phone calls and e-mails every day from recording artists and rights owners asking for assistance on a range of issues.

So, we provided answers below to some of the most common questions people ask. Read on and let us know if these were helpful. Do you have other questions? Let us know.

Question: I’m already a member of ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. Don’t they cover royalties for me? What is the difference?

Answer: The royalties SoundExchange collects and distributes are for the featured artist and the sound recording copyright owner. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC collect and distribute royalties for the songwriter, composer and publisher for the musical composition. Both satellite radio providers and digital radio webcasters pay SoundExchange when they stream music due to their utilization of the statutory license. If you are an artist or a rights owner, you should register with us, so you receive your digital performance royalties.

Question: How are royalties distributed to the right person?

Answer: SoundExchange manages licenses for more than 3,100 digital radio services. We receive reports of use with the title of tracks, artist information and the number of plays. We run this information against our rights and repertoire database of more than 27 million unique sound recordings to ensure the correct featured artists and rights owners receive their royalties. Also, we have really smart people.

Question: I registered, but I haven’t received any money yet. What happened?

Answer: SoundExchange offers a monthly royalty payment program for 1) those who are signed up to receive electronic payments, and 2) have royalties due of at least $100. Featured artists and rights owners who do not meet the minimum monthly threshold will continue to be paid on our regular, quarterly schedule (March, June, September and December) under our existing guidelines. To receive a quarterly payment, you must have accrued at least $10 in royalties before a scheduled distribution if paid by direct deposit ($100 for a paper check). If you are under the threshold, SoundExchange will hold your royalties until you accrue enough royalties.

Question: What royalties does SoundExchange NOT administer? Does SoundExchange cover downloads?

Answer: Royalties for songwriting, publishing and composition are distributed by organizations such as ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. Royalties for downloads are distributed directly by the services that offer downloads.

Do you have more questions?

Call Customer Service at (1-800) 961-2091 or email us at [email protected]

Do you want to learn more about digital royalties? Check here.

Haven’t registered? You can register online and find important forms and other info here.

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