What is SoundExchange doing with the money?

SoundExchangeSince we’ve been talking about SoundExchange so much lately I thought I’d call this to your attention. SoundExchange, for those that don’t know, is the entity that collects performance royalty money on every song played via a digital transmission such as digital cable and satellite tv, satellite radio, and internet radio. This money is collected on behalf of the Sound Recording Copyright Owner (the label), the featured artist (the artist whose name is on the CD), and the non-featured artists (the sidemen/studio musicians). It doesn’t matter if any of these people have registered or not, SoundExchange still collects the money. If these people aren’t registered, SE hangs on to the money for a period of three years and then simply pockets the cash.

SoundExchange has been in the news recently because of the coming (July 15, 2007) increase in royalties on internet radio stations.

One might wonder how these royalties get to the right people. From what I can tell by looking at their site, the burden is entirely on the artists and labels to register, or forgo the royalties collected on their behalf.

In order to be paid by SoundExchange, you must provide the proper payee information.

I understand that some artists would be difficult to track down, but it seems like SoundExchange could at least make a good faith effort to find people for whom they are collecting money. They obviously don’t though. To prove that point I’ll link to Exhibit A, the Unpaid Artist List, which includes such bluegrass notables as Bobby Osborne, The Bluegrass Patriots, Bob Paisley and Southern Grass, Boone Creek, and Buddy Spicher. And all I looked at were the Bs. If you’re an artist, you might want to check that list.

Note to SoundExchange: It sure didn’t take long to find those artists’ links with Google. And they all have contact links readily available.