I’m a Singer/Songwriter, Should I Join SoundExchange?

By | 2024-07-11T21:54:50+00:00 July 9th, 2024|recording, recording music, royalties, soundexchange|0 Comments

If you’re a singer/songwriter who has written and recorded original music, you might already be familiar with platforms like CD Baby, Music Gateway, DittoMusic, DistroKid, or TuneCore, which handle some of your royalties. However, there’s a crucial aspect they may not cover: digital performance royalties.

SoundExchange is the organization responsible for collecting and distributing digital performance royalties for sound recordings. While traditional performance rights organizations (PROs) like ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC handle royalties for songwriters, SoundExchange specifically deals with royalties for those involved in the recording itself — both featured and non-featured artists.

What Does SoundExchange Do?

SoundExchange ensures that everyone involved in the recording process gets their due for digital performances. This includes airplay on satellite radio such as SiriusXM and internet radio stations like Pandora and iHeartRadio. Even niche stations can generate substantial royalties through repeat spins.

Who Benefits from SoundExchange?

For recording artists, whether you’re a featured performer or a session musician, SoundExchange is essential. It’s the primary avenue for collecting royalties from the use of master recordings on non-interactive streaming services. This means if your music is played on digital platforms or satellite radio, SoundExchange ensures you receive your share of the earnings.

How Are Royalties Distributed?

SoundExchange divides royalties as follows:

  • 50% goes to the owner of the sound recording copyright (usually the record label or producer).
  • 45% goes to the featured artist.
  • 5% goes to non-featured performers like session musicians and backup singers.

Why Should You Join SoundExchange?

Currently, SoundExchange holds over $200 million in unclaimed royalties. If you’re not a member or haven’t completed your filings with them, you could be missing out on significant earnings. SoundExchange redistributes unclaimed royalties after three years, so it’s crucial to sign up to ensure you receive what you’re owed.

Who Should Not Join SoundExchange?

If you’re solely a songwriter and don’t perform or record your music, SoundExchange won’t be directly beneficial to you. In that case, focusing on joining traditional PROs like ASCAP or BMI would be more appropriate.

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For any artist involved in recording music, joining SoundExchange is a smart move to secure your royalties from digital performances. To sign up and start collecting what you’re owed, visit SoundExchange’s official website.

By understanding and utilizing SoundExchange, you can ensure that your hard work as a recording artist is properly compensated in the digital age.


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