story from last week on SoundExchange and a huge list of unpaid
music artists has had a global impact.
has been reposted on a number of websites, listservs and message
boards, and because my address is included, I get the feedback.
A guy in
Singapore has found a couple of electronica artists and let them
know about the royalty fund.
video game designer spent an hour on Google, found contact info
about two dozen artists and has heard back from seven of them,
including C. W. McCall of "Convoy" fame, thanking him for telling
of blues legend Son House has applied because a friend found his
name on the list.
Over a hundred
"world music" artists from the list have been contacted.
the reaction I know about. It's been amazing.
And it tells
me one thing; if SoundExchange had exploited that sense of community
that music creates, I doubt there would be more than a handful
of artists left on the list, and those would be ones who, for
whatever reason, didn't want to be found.
I am willing
to bet that every one of the artists who has registered since
September 15 has done so as a result of the negative publicity
given the lists and the viral current that runs link-by-link from
the CounterPunch article and the other fee starting nodes. That
could be the most important development that comes out of this
mess: a reinforcement that the "truth is out there" on the Internet,
you just need to tap into it.
wasted a lot of money on its unsuccessful "search" efforts over
the years when the most effective and cost efficient solution
was just a couple emails and message board posts away. Good Lord,
a SoundExchange MySpace page might have cleared 50% of that list
side effect of the CounterPunch piece has been the reigniting
of a longstanding debate among the heavy thinkers of the technology
world about the best way for artists to get paid. SoundExchange
was the darling of the "blanket license" proponents; showing,
they thought, that a collective effort was the most efficient
and effective way to move money to the creators. The SoundExchange
lists tarnish that idea a bit. The other main proponents the "micropayers"
(in which each artist negotiates payment individually with each
end consumer) are overjoyed, and will be until someone explains
that they are, in essence, reproducing standard record company
royalty accounting standards and projecting them on every artist
forever. That's not such a hot idea, either. The debate, however,
has moved up a notch, thanks to CounterPunch giving it new fuel
So, at the
end of a week, we can pretty say that CounterPunch has succeeded
in doing what it is supposed to do; it stirred things up and actually
caused some action in the right direction. The stirring has been
a great deal of fun, and the progress is measured in money moved
to artists and new heights of both rhetoric and fact.
URGENT MESSAGE TO RECORDING ARTISTS
is the entity that collects and distributes broadcast royalties
from digital distribution of music. This includes streaming
Internet broadcasts (not downloads) and satellite radio
services. These royalties have been payable since February
1, 1996. If your music has been played on the Internet since
that date, you are entitled to a share of the royalties.
December 15, 2006, any royalties that are unclaimed for
performances up through March 31, 2000 WILL BE FORFEITED.
you, as an individual or as a member of a recording group,
are not registered with SoundExchange by December 15, 2006,
you will lose all rights to your royalties earned before
March 31, 2000.
are thousands of identified artists who will lose these
royalties unless they act before the deadline. SoundExchange
has listed these "unfound" artists on their website.
the time to read the list. If you are on it, follow the
instructions for filing a claim. It costs you nothing and
it does not take much time. If you register now, you will
receive the unclaimed royalties and will receive future
and families of recording artists should also check the
list. If you know anyone on there, PLEASE LET THEM KNOW
IMMEDIATELY. You will note that there are a number of deceased
performers on the list. If you know any surviving relatives,
let them know about this.
money belongs in the hands of the artists who created the
Note: Fred Wilhelms is a lawyer who represents musicians and songwriters.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be patient while downloading the Unpaid Artist List.
It may take some time.