AFTRA agrees to help find royalty-owed recording artists


Royalty collector and distributor SoundExchange has been criticized in some quarters for its failure to locate musicians to whom it should be paying royalty dollars. Now AFTRA, a union to which many of them belong, is stepping in to bring the two together.

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (its full name) has a membership roster that tops the 70K level. About six thousand of them are artists who have had music streamed on line and have royalty payments coming. AFTRA has pledged to use snail mail, email and the telephone to contact them and urge them to cooperate with SoundExchange.

“Increasingly, our world is evolving into the digital age,” observed AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth. “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. As AFTRA’s National Executive Director and as a board member of SoundExchange, I am very pleased to partner with SoundExchange to identify, to locate and pay AFTRA members their share of the tremendously profitable digital revolution.”

SoundExchange says it has paid out $412M but has millions still to pay to artists who haven’t registered with the service.