Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Getting Paid from Webcasts and Satellite Radio

Dear Rich: Someone heard our band's music on Sirius (the satellite radio station). Do we get paid for this? What do we do? I'm so glad you asked. The short answer is that the band's songwriters (and music publisher if you have one) will get a payment from ASCAP or BMI (the performing rights socieities), and the band should get a payment from Sound Exchange for performance of the recording. In order to receive these payments, you will need to sign up with the relative services, as I'll explain below.
If your band hasn't decided how it will treat songwriter income, you'll need to work that out. Then the songwriters (and publisher) must sign up with ASCAP or BMI, register the songs, and wait by the mailbox (or bank, if you choose direct deposit). But unlike over-the-air radio frequency performances (AM and FM radio), a webcast or satellite radio station also pays a royalty fee to the artist. That payment is collected and paid by SoundExchange.  (You should download the paperwork from their website and register as a featured artist.) 
You can find out whether SoundExchange is holding money for you by checking the list of unregistered artists . If you don't see your band here, then Sound Exchange is not currently holding a check for you.