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SoundExchange: It Pays When You Use It!
May 19, 2015

It’s part of MAM’s mission to ensure the creators of sound recordings and the recording artists who perform them are compensated for their creative contributions.

So DON’T FORGET to register your creative work with SoundExchange. If/when it ever shows up on a digital playlist (think satellite radio and webcasts), it’s SoundExchange who pays you your performance royalties. In fact, the independent, non-profit PRO is the U.S.’s sole digital music royalty distributor thanks to the U.S. Copyright Office.

Again, if your creative music plays on digital radio, SoundExchange is who will pay your performance royalty as an artist and/or sound recording copyright owner.

soundexchange graphicHere’s a good breakdown from the Future of Music Coalition on the differences between which PRO pays out which royalties:

“How is SoundExchange different from other royalty collection agencies?”

It works under the same model as ASCAP, BMI and SEASAC, but it represents a license on a different work. There are two copyrights contained in each recording — one for the musical composition and one for that particular sound recording of the composition. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC collect performance revenue for the owners of the copyrighted musical work (the song), i.e. music publishers, songwriters and composers. SoundExchange collects performance revenue for the sound recording copyright owner (usually the record label) and for the performers. They don’t compete against each other — in fact, their work is complimentary.

For example, when Patsy Cline’s version of the Willie Nelson song “Crazy” is heard on terrestrial radio, songwriter Willie Nelson receives a royalty from BMI, but Patsy gets nothing. However, when “Crazy” is played on satellite radio or webcast, Willie gets his royalty from BMI, but the estate of Patsy Cline also gets a payment from SoundExchange, as does the owner of that particular sound recording.”

Note that it’s up to YOU as the artist/copyright holder (not MAM) to register your works with SoundExchange so they can pay out your digital performance royalties (see graphic for detailed payout process). We’d love to help you out, but that’s the system with SoundExchange–only the artists/copyright holders can register their works.

Why not make it easy on SoundExchange to track you down with your digital royalties: go register your goodies now so you can get in on the goods later!

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