Digital Royalties for Background Performers

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Digital Royalties for Background Performers

Information provided by Scott Faulconbridge


Hey everybody, I am currently on the Industry Relations committee.  I took it upon myself to learn what I could about digital royalties.  In the process of doing that, I came across a royalty fund that most comics would not be aware of. It may not be a huge amount of money, but I wanted to make people aware of it.

For every digital royalty that is created and sent to SoundExchange by Sirius, 5 percent (1/20th) is then sent to the AFGSAGAFTRA fund for background performers.  SoundExchange keeps 95 percent.   They then distribute the 95 percent in the formula we are aware of. 50 percent to the copyright owner, 45 percent to the artist, 5 percent to sound exchange to manage the digital royalties.

The 5 percent for background performers is sent to AFMSAGAFTRA fund. and is separate from sound exchange funds.  If you have been played and paid, you have been contributing to the fund for background performers.

It is set up for background musicians and vocalists to collect.  Radio DJ’s who are occasionally on a recording introducing a band also collect.  If you are listed as a feature performer on a track, you cannot also be a background performer but…

I asked them if an MC who introduces someone on a recording, or is heard at the end of a recording,  can they collect for background fees.  They (the AFMSAGAFTRA fund ) looked into it and decided yes.  If you are heard on a track introducing the feature act or come on at the end, you are considered a background performer for the recording.  You are only eligible for royalties when you appear on the track. So, not the whole album. Your involvement should be on liner notes and mentioned online by the feature act online.

To summarize.

There is a digital royalty fund which we have all been paying into when we are played on Sirius and paid by SoundExchange.
It is 5 percent of the total funds generated and is not part of SoundExchange.

It goes to the AFMSAGAFTRA fund for background performers. If you are a featured performer on these tracks, you cannot also collect background fees.

MC’s or any non-featured performer heard appearing on a track can collect royalties for that track.  They should also be in liner notes and mentioned by the artist online.

People can sign up and get more info  at AFMSAGAFTRAFUND.ORG


Information provided by Scott Faulconbridge

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