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Musicians Urged to Register for Royalty Windfall

Los Angeles – More than 38,000 performing artists are owed royalty money for certain digital and satellite transmissions, but they only have until year’s end to claim it.

SoundExchange, which was established in 2000 to issue the compulsory licenses for the transmissions, collect the fees and distribute the relevant royalties, has appealed to musicians to register with it to ensure that they don’t lose out.

If artists or their heirs do not come forward by Dec. 31, they will not be able to collect their share of the first royalties collected from 1996-2000.

The forfeited funds revert to the pool. “Any unclaimed royalties get redistributed to all those who we can pay, thus lowering their effective administrative rate,” SoundExchange executive director John Simson said.

If the original recipients were charged a typical 15% administrative fee, for example, they stand to get an additional share of the money collected on behalf of those who didn’t register.

Simson said the organization has already paid out about $16 million covering more than 200 million digital plays for about 6,000 members. It lists the Count Five, who recorded the classic hit “Psychotic Reaction,” and the Shangri-Las, who are best known for “Leader of the Pack,” among the artists who recently have received money owed them.

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