BMI, ASCAP and now Soundexchange

I came across an important article in the Tennessean which pointed out the importance of registering with an organization that collects royalties for digital music, such as SoundExchange.com. With the emerging popularity of online radio and programs such as Pandora, it is absolutely imperative to have proper registration with a company entrusted to collect online royalties.

The difference between online play and traditional radio play, is that terrestrial radio is not required to pay royalties to musicians and artists who appear on a particular recording. Groups like BMI and ASCAP only collect and disperse royalties to copyright holders and publishers.

Recording artists sensing the dawn of a new musical venue were quick to ensure that they would be paid for online and digital play of their recordings. So while the bass player from a 1960’s protest song may not have received royalties in twenty years, he may now find that the same song is now worth several thousand dollars in online royalties.

Many recording artists, however, have failed to register with SoundExchange.com and are potentially losing thousands of dollars. This particular article suggests that there is over $50 million dollars in unpaid royalties. Despite the best efforts of researchers and investigators it is often impossible to recover all the musicians who played a part on a particular track meaning their rightful royalty goes uncollected.

The Copyright Royalty Board has made SoundExchange the sole entity in the United States to collect and distribute digital performance royalties on behalf of featured recording artists, master rights owners (like record labels), and independent artists who record and own their masters.


The Law Office of Joseph Lamy handles all matters pertaining to music and the law. Contact our office right away for help in registering your work with BMI or ASCAP and SoundExchange.