Hollywood's largest union has identified nearly 2,000 actors, comedians and other members who may be entitled to collect $2.3 million in unclaimed royalties.
SAG-AFTRA, which represents more than 165,000 actors and other performers, said it partnered with SoundExchange, a nonprofit group that collects and distributes royalties on behalf of recording artists and other talent, to identify the union members who are owed royalties for their sound recordings.
When sound recordings are streamed on certain digital services, including Internet radio and satellite channels such as iHeart Radio, Pandora and SiriusXM, SoundExchange collects a royalty on behalf of both performers and copyright holders, as required by U.S. copyright law.
But after conducting an extensive crosscheck between their two databases, SAG-AFTRA and SoundExchange identified nearly 2,000 union members who are potentially eligible to receive royalties but haven't registered to collect their money. Many are actors and comedians who many not be aware they are owed money, the union said.
“Royalties are an important revenue stream, not just for our recording artist members, but for all our members whose recordings are played on some type of digital platform,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White. “Anytime we can assist our members in collecting money for their professional work, we’re happy to help."
Since 2001, SoundExchange has collected and paid out more than $2 billion in digital royalties.
“While we are best known for our focus on music, SoundExchange also collects royalties for actors, comedians and spoken word recordings,” said SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe. “The match with SAG-AFTRA allows SoundExchange to reach all of these important performers (both music and non-music) who are entitled to their share of royalties from streaming radio services."
Any artist whose recordings are played can earn and claim royalties through SoundExchange. Performers and owners of master recordings may register with SoundExchange free of charge to receive royalties.