[MUSIC 101] SOUNDEXCHANGE: Are You Getting Paid for Your Music?

Who is SoundExchange



SoundExchange helps the music and creative community thrive in the digital age. SoundExchange is the independent nonprofit performance rights organization that collects and distributes digital performance royalties to featured artists and copyright holders.

They represent recording artists – from unsigned a cappella to acid rock to multi-platinum stars and master rights owners including major and independent record labels. It’s our job to ensure that these artists and copyright holders are compensated when their work is broadcast by non-interactive digital radio

Digital royalties are fees that service providers such as Pandora, SiriusXM and webcasters are required by law to pay for streaming musical content. These royalties are paid by the services to SoundExchange and accompanied with playlists of all the recordings played by the service provider.

It is their role to take these payments, divide the fees to the recordings according to how often each song was played, and then pay the featured artist(s) and copyright owners of those recordings.

More than 90,000 artists and over 28,000 sound recording copyright owners have registered with SoundExchange. They have paid out more than $1.5 billion in royalties since their first distribution.

How Royalties are Divided
Under the law, 45 percent of performance royalties are paid directly to the featured artists on a recording, and 5 percent are paid to a fund for non-featured artists, typically session musicians, and background singers. The other 50 percent of the performance royalties are paid to the owner of the sound recording (i.e., the owner of the “master”), which can be a record label or an artist who owns their own masters.

The term “featured artist” refers to the group or individual most prominently featured on the sound recording. If you have questions about who qualifies as a featured artist or wish to register as a featured artist on a recording, please contact their Customer Service department.


Register to Receive Royalties
You must be registered with SoundExchange to receive royalties from them; otherwise, they won’t know where to send your money!

If you are an artist or copyright holder, register online now to receive royalty payments that may be due to you.   Registering is free, easy and fast.

Register Online

You may also register by mail, fax or email by downloading and submitting the completed registration forms to our mailing address or by email to accounts@SoundExchange.com If you have questions, please call them at 1-800-961-2091.

Online registration is fast and easy; just follow the link below. You’ll need to provide a picture ID and information about where to send the royalties. If you provide your bank information, they will electronically transfer any royalties directly into your account.

Unclaimed Royalties Can Expire
SoundExchange is authorized by regulation to release older, unclaimed royalties to offset their costs. They have rarely exercised this authority, but they will need your help to spread the word and get recording artists and record labels to register with them.

Does SoundExchange have royalties for you?

If you are an artist or a sound recording copyright owner, you may have royalty payments waiting for you. Select an option below to learn if you do, and register here to receive your payments.

Search PLAYS Database


Become a SoundExchange Member  

When you register to receive royalties, SoundExchange urgeS you to also become a SoundExchange member. Membership is free and qualifies you for exclusive benefits.When you register with them, you are eligible to become a SoundExchange member.

Membership benefits include:

International royalty collections
They have 27 collection agreements with other countries. When your music is played in those countries, SoundExchange will facilitate payments for those royalties along with your U.S.-based ones. SoundExchange does not charge a fee for this service.

Influence on music business and government policies
Thousands of artists and hundreds of other companies work with us to fight for performance rights and maintain the value of music. You can help too.

Music conference and equipment discounts
We offer our members exclusive discounts to conferences and equipment.

If you are not yet registered with SoundExchange, register now and elect to become a member.

If you’re already registered and wish to become a member, download, complete and submit the appropriate form:

You can also contact us at 1-800-961-2091 or accounts@soundexchange.com and tell us you want to become a member toSoundExchange


Illustration Video and Logo: SoundExchange

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