FAQs

We get royalties from both domestic and foreign sources. Revenue to the Sound Recording Division includes Private Copy royalties generated from the U.S. Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA); and reciprocal Private Copy agreements with numerous foreign collectives in countries that also have legislation providing these royalties such as: Japan, the Netherlands, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Germany, Latvia, and Estonia, just to name a few. The Fund also collects record rental remuneration from Japan, and the Netherlands where sound recordings are rented in much the same manner as DVDs are rented in the U.S. The largest share of royalties, however, is generated from the Digital Performance Royalty Act (DPRA) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which the Fund collects from Sound Exchange on behalf of non-featured performers. These include royalties collected from digital subscription services, webcasting, and other digital services.

The Fund became operational in 2000 when the AFM and AFTRA (now SAG-AFTRA) determined that neither union had the staffing and resources to distribute statutory royalties to non-featured performers pursuant to U.S. Copyright legislation and foreign equitable remuneration ("foreign royalties") due their members.

No, there are actually two discreet pools of money; one for musicians and another for vocalists. Therefore, while the distribution formula is the same, there are some circumstances where vocalists could receive a royalty for a sound recording that musicians don’t and vice e versa (see Distribution Guideline for more information).

Due to the complex nature of the distributions and the vast number of sound recordings and performers involved, the Fund does NOT pay on each and every sound recording performed or released. Rather, payments are based on a census or a survey. For Private Copy royalties in the U.S., the Fund uses sales data from SoundScan to determine each sound recording’s ranking and pro-rata share of the royalty pool, and data from the respective foreign collectives for such determinations. For Digital Performance Royalties the Fund relies on performance data (such as play lists, and similar material) supplied by Sound Exchange to make these determinations (see Distribution Guideline for a complete explanation).

There are discreet Funds. Each individual non-featured performer eligible for a distribution from the applicable Fund (instrumental musicians, music preparation personnel and vocalists alike) receives a single credit in that Fund for each sound recording they perform on regardless of the number of cuts or parts performed on a particular sound recording. Then, the amount received for each sound recording (less administrative expenses) is divided by the number of non-featured performers to establish each individual’s pro-rata share of the royalties.

Not necessarily. Union and non-union projects will be treated equally for Domestic royalties (i.e. those generated in the U.S.), but a number of the foreign collectives we have agreements with do require that payments made to the Fund generated in their territories be made only to members of the AFM and/or SAG-AFTRA.

The Fund staff conducts extensive research including examining union contracts as well as other documentation available such as liner notes and websites to identify non-featured performers.

Click your name and all the other recordings we have found for you will appear.

Simply contact the Fund via the online inquiry form, and request additional research on your behalf. It is important to include all pertinent information such as song(s) you worked on, session dates, studio location, etc. Supporting documentation such as pay stubs, session contracts, or even affidavits from other non-featured performers and others such as record producers and engineers who were also involved in the recording in question will be most helpful. The Fund will then promptly investigate your claim. If your participation can be verified, then an appropriate pro-rata payment will be made to you from the reserves held back for omissions (see Distribution Guideline for more information).

If for one reason or another (i.e. you have the same or similar name to someone who did actually perform on the album) you received a check but did not perform on any album/single listed, please notify the Fund.

There could be a variety of reasons that despite your performance on a particular sound recording you still did not receive a payment. The most likely cause would be that we might not have your address or social security number. If you move or want to be sure we have the most current information for you, you can email a change of address form.

The AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund was formed for the purpose of distributing royalties from various foreign territories and royalties established by government statute under U.S. Copyright Law.

In the U.S., payments stem from statutory royalties pursuant various government regulations including the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA), Digital Performance Rights in Sound Recordings Act of 1995 (DPRA) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA). In addition, the Fund (in cooperation with SAG-AFTRA & the AFM) has negotiated numerous agreements (often in partnership with AARC or Sound Exchange) with foreign collectives throughout Europe and in Japan for the payment of Private Copy levies, record rental remuneration, certain broadcast royalties, and Audiovisual Royalties in Spain. See the “About Us” page for a current list of collectives and countries where the Fund has agreements.

The Fund distributes money to the following categories of performers:
non-featured vocalists and non-featured musicians performing on covered sound recordings in the U.S. and on U.S. covered sound recordings subject to royalties in the various foreign territories where the Fund has an agreement; U.S. non-featured performers on foreign recordings subject to royalties in territories where the Fund has agreements. U.S. Symphonic, Ballet, and Opera musicians and vocalists AFM and SAG-AFTRA featured and non-featured performers performing on motion pictures and television programs (regardless of where they are scored) broadcast on Spanish television or exhibited in Spanish theaters. This also includes sound recordings licensed for use in such motion pictures and television programs.

The Fund is constantly in the process of negotiating additional Sound Recording and Audiovisual agreements in Europe, Asia and South America. In addition, the Fund is actively engaged in partnership with the AFM and SAG-AFTRA, as well as other U.S. rights organizations to expand Performers Rights legislation in the U.S.

The Sound Recording Division distributes U.S. statutory royalties to entitled vocalists and musicians without regard to union membership. However, some foreign royalties, including audiovisual royalties in Spain pursuant to the rules and regulations of those territories do require that payments may be made only on the basis on membership in the AFM and/or SAG-AFTRA.

The Sound Recording Division distribution is made annually at the end of October.
The Audiovisual Division distribution is made annually at the end of August.
The Symphonic distribution is made annually at the end of February.

Each division of the Fund has a separate section of the webpage with a list of covered recording or films as applicable where you can check to see the full list of credits on each of those titles. If you find something on any of those lists that you are not credited on you can fill out an inquiry/omissions form and submit it online.

These payments are a unique form of royalties collected for symphonic recordings pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the U.S. and agreements negotiated with foreign collectives that cover performance rights for symphonic sound recordings licensed for use on cable satellite, subscription services, and other digital media.

Symphonic performers are considered “featured” performers. Each individual featured performer eligible for a distribution (instrumental musicians, music preparation personnel and librarians) receives a single credit for each sound recording they perform on regardless of the number of parts performed on a particular sound recording. Then, the amount received for each sound recording (less administrative expenses) is divided by the number of featured performers to establish each individual’s pro-rata share of the royalties.

Not necessarily. Union and non-union projects will be treated equally for domestic royalties (i.e. those generated in the U.S.), but a number of the foreign collectives we have agreements with do require that payments made to the Fund generated in their territories be made only to members of the AFM and/or SAG-AFTRA.

The Fund staff conducts extensive research including examining union contracts, orchestra rosters, and other documentation available to identify featured performers.

Click your name and all the other recordings we have found for you will appear.

Simply contact the Fund via the online inquiry form, and request additional research on your behalf. It is important to include all pertinent information such as performance (s) you worked on, session dates, studio location, etc. Supporting documentation such as pay stubs, session contracts, or even affidavits from other featured performers, and others such as the orchestra manager/contractor who was involved in the recording in question will be most helpful. The Fund will then promptly investigate your claim. If your participation can be verified, then an appropriate pro-rata payment will be made to you from the reserves held back for omissions (see Distribution Guideline for more information).

If for one reason or another (i.e. you have the same or similar name as someone who did actually perform on the album) you received a check but did not perform on any album/single listed, please notify the Fund.

There could be a variety of reasons that despite your performance on a particular sound recording you still did not receive a payment. The most likely cause would be that we might not have your address or social security number. If you move or want to be sure we have the most current information for you, you can email a change of address form.