Music Business

AFM, SAG-AFTRA distributes $70M to rightsholders

The AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund – an income source that most musicians barely know exists – has announced a record $70 million distribution.

The AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund, a performing society founded to collect and distribute royalties to non-featured performers on sound recordings for songs played on satellite radio, non-interactive streaming, and other digital formats domestically and internationally announced a record distribution in 2020 of $70 million to rightsholders.

The $70 million figure for 2020 tops last year’s disbursement by more than 10 million dollars

“As a recording artist, I’ve been very fortunate to work with Elton John, Mary J. Blige, Joe Cocker, and many others. I also sing on movies, television shows, and commercials, so when I started receiving royalties from an organization with this long, funny name, I was happily surprised,” says Fund participant and vocalist Kudisan Kai. “If you’ve worked as a vocalist or a musician, the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Fund may have some funds for you,” explains Grammy Award-winning artist Alvin Chea of a cappella group Take 6. “I know I’ve worked on a lot of big projects with artists like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Elton John, along with some smaller projects—they find them all. They’ve blessed me and given me many pleasant surprises in my mailbox.”

“Given the enormous impact the pandemic has had on the ability to earn a living on both instrumentalists and vocalists, we are thrilled to be able to assist non-featured performers by collecting and distributing royalty income they might not know they’re entitled to receive,” says Sidney Kibodeaux White, Chief Operating Officer of The Fund. Unlike other rights collectives, there is no membership or registration requirement in order to qualify—as long as a musician participates as a non-featured performer on a covered sound recording, that musician is considered a “participant” for distribution purposes.

Unlike conventional PROs, the Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund is not member driven and is instead open to anyone who has performed on a covered sound recording or motion picture/television program in an applicable category, and disbursements for U.S. royalties are made without regard for membership in the AFM or SAG-AFTRA unions. However, the laws of some foreign nations do require union membership in order to receive royalty distributions from the fund.

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