- Unclaimed Royalties
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 Guidelines 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 Guidelines 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.
Double click your name and all the other recordings we have found you for 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 Guidelines 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.