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Sound Exchange:
The New Performance
Rights Organization


We will take a look at We will explain how We will explain the
the company, its Sound Exchange differs new developments that
history, how it from the traditional have led to the
functions, and how it Performance Rights addition of
benefits recording Organization performance royalties
artists. for recording artists.

Vyral University: sound exchange: the new PRO
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artists get

Sound Exchange: The



There have been new developments regarding performance royalties that your should know about. If you are a
recording artist or musician and you do not know about Sound Exchange, it’s time to wise up....

Sound Exchange is the newest of the performance rights organization. So why all the fuss? Well
until 1995, the only people who received performance royalties were songwriters and musicians. That
all changed with the passing of The Digital Performance in Sound Recordings Act of 1995. What that
stated is that performers and owners of copyrights are to be paid for the use of their works in digital
transmissions. Basically, anytime a copyrighted work is used in digital format (such as webcast,
internet radio, etc.) the user is required to pay a performance royalty to both the copyright holder of
the musical composition( songwriter/publisher) and the owner of the sound recording (performer/
recording company/producer).
Sound Exchange has been appointed by the US Congress as the sole administrator and collection
agency for these royalty payments. In the same way that ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC collect
performance royalties for songwriters and publishers, Sound Exchange collects performance royalties
for recording artists and others who own SR (sound recording) copyrights, such as record labels. As
of now, these royalties are only available for digital performances but in the near future, we may see
new avenues arise for public performance royalties in radio, TV, and film.

SRCO’s and sound exchange
What Types of licenses does Sound Exchange Administer -
Sound Exchange is responsible for the collection and distribution
of royalties from SRCO’s.

What is a SRCO - It is a person or recording company that owns

the master recordings of a particular copyright.

Who Does Sound Exchange Collect From? - They collect from

digital cable, satellite TV channels such as Music Choice and
Muzak, Web casters, Satellite Radio and more.

What is not included? - As of right now, this only includes

digital transmissions, so there are no performance royalties from
radio, TV, etc.

Who should register? - Anyone that is a recording artist, or

plans on being one in the future. This group also includes anyone
that own’s a SRCO in general, meaning record labels, producers,

SRCO’s now
get paid!!


Until 1995, there was no such thing as performance royalties for SRCO’s. That all changed with the
passing of two landmark bills. Here is a little info on the history of these changes, and what the law
states as of today.

The Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995 (DPRA)

In 1995, the United States passed a copyright law granting owners of SR (sound recording)
copyrights a exclusive right for digital performances of their works publicly. What this meant is that
SRCO’s would now be obligated to receive performance royalties for digital performances and
retransmissions of their copyrights.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

In 1996, shortly after the passing of the DPRA, this law was passed. This act did a number of things
to strengthen the laws protecting intellectual property in the digital realm, (not just music). It stated that
among other things, “webcasters” must now pay licensing fees to SRCO’s for the use of their material,
as well as making any violations of this act a punishable offense, (i.e. crime).

How these new laws affect you as a SRCO?

Basically, these two laws created a brand new revenue stream for holder’s of SR Copyrights. It
meant that anyone wishing to use your performances (sound recordings) in the digital realm
(websites, internet radio, satellite radio, etc...) would have to pay a license fee for the usage of these
The passing of these laws, along with the US Copyright Office appointing SoundExchange to be
the exclusive collector and distributor of these royalties, meant that just as songwriters and publishers
used Performance Rights Organizations such as ASCAP, SESAC, and BMI to collect performance
royalties on their behalf, SRCO’s (sound recording owners) would now be able to use a non-profit
collection agency to administer licenses and collect royalties on their behalf, (SoundExchange).

Sound Exchange.Com Website
Let’s start taking a look at the Sound Exchange website. When you first navigate to, you will be taken to the home page which looks something like this. (as of this
article’s creation of course)

Notice that a short video is featured on the home screen. This video is supposed to tell a little
about Sound Exchange, but at the time of this article, the video was not working due to some sort of
malfunction with the hosting server.

Also, on the right sidebar, you will notice a stats widget has been placed at the very top, letting
you know a little more about the volume of performers and SRCO’s that have been registered, as well
as a nice “Royalties Paid” figure, (which to me seems a little distasteful for a site such as this).

Top Navigation Bar

On the top “nav” bar, you will see a few different options for navigating through the site. Let’s
discuss those briefly first, before moving forward.

Click this logo will You can use this to

take you “home” search the site

These are links for “Calendar” page

registration lists events and
seminars and
“Extras” contains
“Blog” and “The “FAQ” page is
The “About” page logo’s and other
Latest” display helpful for learning
has information on media and social
news and press more about Sound network links
the company related stories Exchange

What you need to know about the newest
Performance Rights Organization...
Is Sound Exchange a scam?
In a word, NO. The new laws passed by the U.S.
Congress have made performance royalties available to
SRCO’s. Sound Exchange is an appointed agency
Do You own
collecting these royalties on behalf of all copyright any SR
holders. Copyrights?

I already have a PRO, should i register...

Yes. ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC only collect performance royalties for publishers and songwriters.
If you are a SR copyright holder, then you should register with Sound Exchange in addition to
registering with your PRO of choice.

Who Runs Sound Exchange?

Sound Exchange is governed by the Board of Directors which is comprised of one representative
from each of the major label groups, (EMI, Sony, UMG, and Warner) as well as 2 representatives from
indie labels (Tommy Boy Entertainment & Matador Records). The board also consists of an executive
from the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and artists and artists representatives
from AFTRA, AFM, The Recording Academy, Music Managers Forum - US, and the Future of Music

What Do I Do Next?
The next step is to find out if you have any royalties waiting for you, and then register with Sound
Exchange. You can read all about that in, “Sound Exchange: The Registration Process”.


• Sound Exchange: The Copyright Registration for more detailed information on
Registration Process music publishing i recommend
• Performance Rights checking out our bookstore for
Organizations some great guides to publishing!
• How Your Music Makes Money
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