Digital Music Royalty Payments Owed Recording Artists, Musicians & Copyright Owners

The Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995 (DPRA) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) mandated the payment of royalties to recording artists, master rights owners (record labels) and independent artists, for use of their work in digital and satellite transmissions.

These royalties are generated from satellite radio play (SIRIUS & XM Radio), internet radio, cable and satellite TV music channels, webcasts and similar platforms which stream digital sound recordings.

Sound Exchange, a non-profit performance rights organization created by Congress, collects and distributes digital performance royalties for over 3,500 record companies and their 6000 labels.

To date, SoundExchange has distributed about $360 million to more than 45,000 artists and copyright holders. At any given time, however, about a third of the money collected can’t be  distributed because the artists can’t be located.

The Music Modernization Act of 2018 established Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) to collect and distribute royalties owed copyright owners when their works are streamed by Digital Service Providers (DSPs). To date, over $424 million has gone unclaimed.

Remittances include: Apple Music – $163 million, Spotify – $153 million, Amazon Music – $43 million, Google – $33 million, Pandora – $12 million, Soundcloud – $10 million, Tidal – $7 million and iHeartRadio $1 million.

NoteThe National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and YouTube reached agreement to distribute royalties for musical works used in videos on YouTube where ownership was previously unknown. As a result, millions of dollars in previously unclaimed non-performance royalties has been paid to publishers and songwriters since 2017.

If you’re a recording artist or own rights to recordings that may have been distributed via satellite radio, internet radio, satellite or cable television, complete the form below to initiate a search.