(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — On June 9, the SoundExchange board of directors met in New York City and decided to extend the deadline for releasing previously undistributed artist and label royalties from July 31, 2005 to December 31, 2005. Under Copyright Office regulations, SoundExchange is permitted to use royalties payable to artists and labels that are unidentified or unable to be located after a period of three years to offset its own costs of operation.
Royalties paid for the years 1996 – 2000, were subject to the July 31 deadline. Artists and labels that do not come forward within the next six months to claim these royalties may lose their right to do so under federal regulations.
"We are feverishly trying to locate unpaid artists and record companies and have implemented a number of strategies to do so," said John L. Simsin, executive director. "Our board recognizes that these programs take time to gain momentum and their decision to extend the deadline demonstrates their commitment to pay the creators of the music we love."
The SoundExchange board also voted to appoint Don Rose, president of the newly formed American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) as a board member. Rose replaces Gary Himelfarb of RAS Records/Sanctuary Records Group on the board of directors. Rose was co-founder and CEO of Rykodisc, which was sold to Palm Pictures in 1998.
"The digital world, as a vast horizontal platform, levels the playing field substantially for the independent sector. The indie 25% share of retail sales jumps to 33% of digital broadcast revenues," said Rose. "SoundExchange provides a remarkable service to labels and artists, and its impact grows daily. We urge all labels and artists not currently registered with SoundExchange to become members. It's free to join and there is likely money waiting to be claimed!"
Another new SoundExchange Board member is Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, national executive director of AFTRA who replaces former AFTRA National Executive Director Greg Hessinger. Roberts previously held the position of associate national executive director prior to replacing Hessinger on April 30.
SoundExchange's most recent distribution of royalties (second quarter – 2005) was in the amount of $9.1 million from an allocation of approximately $12.7 million in royalties, the difference being the amount held in reserve for artists and labels that have not been identified or located. Included in this distribution are the 1998-2002 webcasting royalties that had been held in reserve pending a ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the challenge to the Librarian of Congress' ruling in the first webcaster arbitration.
"We look forward to the day when we are able to pay 100% of the royalties to artists and labels," said Barrie Kessler, chief operating officer of SoundExchange. "SoundExchange continues to explore creative and efficient ways to locate those entitled to royalties." –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen