You are on page 1of 15


Sound Exchange: Searching the Databases

We will take a look at the different ways in which you can search the databases and find out if you are owed any money

We will explain in detail what “PLAYS” is and how to register with the “PLAYS” Search Engine.

We will go through the different features and functions of the “PLAYS” Search Engine.


Vyral University: sound exchange: Searching The Databases

Sound Exchange: Searching The Databases

It is time to get started collecting your royalties

Let’s take an in-depth look at how to search Sound Exchange for your music using the search methods available on the Sound Exchange website. In order to help artists and SR Copyright owners to see if they have any uncollected royalties, Sound Exchange has provided a few different tools to search their databases. You can search these databases using a few different tools (some of which work better than others.) You may also use the search tools to locate other Artists/Bands you may know or are friends with that might not know about Sound Exchange.

Sound Exchange has made it easy for you to locate your uncollected royalties. They have also provided some great tools for sharing this info with your social network friends.


Now that you have a better understanding of the new laws regarding performance royalties, its time to get started with the Sound Exchange system. Navigate to and scroll down to find this box:

Once you have located this box, click on the “How do I get paid?” button here to get started.

You will be taken to the Performer/SRCO Home page. Scroll down to locate this box. This is where you will get started. There are two different options available to you, you can either find out if you any royalties owed to you, or you can start the registration process. The first thing we will go over in this tutorial is the tools available for locating any owed royalties you may have with Sound Exchange.

Click on the “Find Out” button to get started locating your unpaid royalties. If You have already completed this step, or do not wish to search the databases, you can navigate to the Registration tutorial by CLICKING HERE.


There are 3 different ways to search the Sound Exchange Databases. Each one will allow you to search in a very specific way. I have found that it is best to familiarize yourself with all three, because in some instances, what you are searching for may only be found on one of them.
Tip: You can use either Navigation Menu to browse through the 3 different databases.

UNPAID ARTISTS: The Unpaid Artists database contains a list of recording artists, featured performers, and groups who have uncollected royalties from Sound Exchange. It is important to note however, that this list only contains those persons who have released something prior to 2001. If you know for a fact that you have no releases prior to 2001, then it is best to skip this search, because your name will not show up regardless of whether you may or may not have royalties awaiting. Unpaid SRCO’s: The Unpaid SRCO database is basically the same as the Unpaid Artists database. It houses a list of SR Copyright holder’s who have uncollected royalties prior to 2001. If you had no luck with the first search, it may be wise to try this database. PLAYS: The Plays database is far and away the most detailed, and extensive database Sound Exchange provides. You must register to use the PLAYS database. We will go into more detail about the PLAYS database shortly.


The first database we will quickly walkthrough is the “Unpaid Artists” Database. There are 2 main ways to search:

1) Use the search box to type in the name of an Artist/Band

2) Browse Artists/ Bands by clicking on the letter/number which displays all results starting with that letter/number.

Option 1: Search For Unregistered Artists To use the search box, just type in the name of the Artist/Band you are looking for. Your search will produce 1 of 2 results.
1) If the artist is found, You will see this screen. 2) If nothing is found, you will see this screen.

Using the Results Box: If your search turns up a result, you have two options. You can either choose to register, or if you are searching for someone else, (friend, colleague, etc.) you can email that person to notify them that they may have unpaid royalties. note: the results screen will show up right below Option 2 on the same page. If you made a typing error, or wish to do another search, just scroll up on the page to search again.


Option 1: Search For Unregistered Artists To use the browse artists search, just click on the letter/number that you wish to browse through and the results will show up below.

Notice that the same two options are available using this option.

To scroll through the pages, use this tool. The number of results is also shown here.

You can also scroll through the pages at the bottom of the results page.

Unpaid SRCO’s. The 2nd database contains the list of unpaid SRCO’s. Although this is a different database, the search options are exactly the same as the “Unpaid Artists” search. Just like searching in the “Unpaid Artists” section, you can search by typing the name, or by browsing through their database alphabetically.


Sound Exchange PLAYS database: “PLAYS” stands for Performance Log Archive of Your Songs. This is the most accurate, and most extensive way to search the Sound Exchange database. TO use the PLAYS database, you must first register. (This is not the same as registering with Sound Exchange, this is a separate registration).

To register with PLAYS, click the “Create An Account” button.

Once you have read through the Conditions and Restrictions, click accept to continue.

Conditions & Restrictions... The Conditions & Restrictions you are accepting basically state 2 things: 1) That Sound Exchange is not liable for any accuracy errors in the database. (it is up to the copyright holder to inform them of any errors, which can be done through the PLAYS database) 2) That you agree to not download or copy this information for commercial use.


Step 1: Registration The first step in the registration process is to fill out some basic info.

Enter the email that you wish to use with your PLAYS account. (must be valid)

See Figure 1 Below

Pick a security question from the dropdown menu. Enter your answer below. The Security Question is in case you forget your password.

Enter your Name & Company (if applicable) See Figure 2 Below See Figure 3 Below Enter your Address here.

Enter your phone number(s) here. Remember to leave out the dashes. (EX: 8662251184)

Figure 1: Sound Exchange provides a list of pre-made questions. PLEASE be aware of any capitalization and punctuation you make when providing your answer!!!

Figure 2: Choose the user type you fall under. If you are more than one, just pick “Other”.

Figure 3: You can designate a genre, or just pick “All Genres” if you are unsure.


Step 2: Email Confirmation The second step in the process is to confirm your registration. You will be sent an email to the address you provided during registration with a generated password.

You will use the generated password the first time you log into PLAYS.

Step 3: Change Password The third (and final) step in the process is to log in using the generated password sent to you in your email.

Navigate to the PLAYS login page, and enter your username and the generated password.

Note: your username is your email.

The first time you log-in, you will be prompted to change your password. Enter in your email address and the old (generated) password, and then create an new password. Once you are finished, click “Submit”

You are now officially registered with PLAYS. In the next section we will go over the PLAYS Search Engine.


PLAYS Search Engine: Overview Now that we have successfully registered, lets take a look at the PLAYS Search Engine.

Access Code: Each time you log-in to PLAYS, you are required to enter an access code. Enter the code EXACTLY as shown, and hit continue to get started.

There are 3 main sections on the PLAYS Search Engine.
NOTE: Using the search box will navigate you away from the PLAYS Search Engine.

1)TOP NAV BAR: Here you can navigate to the various info pages including a page containing various forms.

2) SIDE NAV BAR: Here you can navigate to a few more pages, including your profile page. You can also logoff PLAYS here, and contact Sound Exchange.

3) SEARCH FORM: This is where you can search the PLAYS database for information on a particular Artist/Band. You can search by Name, Title of Song, Album Title, or Record Label.


Performance Repertoire Search: Let’s look at the search form. There are a few ways to search the database. You can search by any combination of Artist Name, Song Title, Album Title & Record Label.

1) ARTIST: You can enter the name of a particular Artist/Band. 2) TITLE: You can enter a specific song title. 3) ALBUM: You can enter the name of a specific album. 4) LABEL: You can search by entering the name of a specific Record Label. Once you have entered your search details, click “Search Now” to submit the form.

You can also contact Sound Exchange via email using this link.

Search Rules: You will notice on the right-hand side of the search form that Sound Exchange has provided a few rules for entering in names. If you find that you are continuously getting “no results found” from your searches, make sure and check to see if you are adhering to these guidelines.

Other Tips: - You may fill in any combination of these fields to help narrow down your search. Only one field is required. - If you wish to start over, just hit clear form and the form will revert back to a blank form. - If you are having trouble locating a particular Artist or Song, try entering in a partial name. - There are a few names that are misspelled in the database, so if you are not getting any results from your search, try using alternate spellings.


Performance Repertoire Search: Search Results Once you submit the search form, you will be taken to a search results page, which displays the results of your search in table form. For my example, i did a search on John Mayer.

To change or modify your search, click hear to go back to the search form. The number of results found will show up here. To Scroll through the results pages use these links

These checkboxes allow you to select the titles that you have questions about.

After you have selected the titles you wish to inquire about, click the Proceed button.

Performance Repertoire Search: Search Results The Search Results will display the Artist, Title, Album and Label of each result found. If your search turns up results, then it is likely that you have unpaid royalties awaiting you with Sound Exchange. You can also use this search to locate any mistakes or errors, and then submit them to Sound Exchange. (Sound Exchange Members will be given first priority on all change submissions)

Performance Repertoire Search: Inquiries If you choose to inquire about any of the results, you will be taken to the “Confirm Selection” screen which will allow you to view all of the results you selected for inquiry.

Once you have reviewed your selection(s), hit the “Confirm Selection” button to continue

Performance Repertoire Search: PLAYS E-Mail Once you confirm your selection(s), you will be sent to the PLAYS E-Mail page, where you can contact Sound Exchange regarding the titles you have questions or concerns about. The selections you made previously will be automatically attached to this email.
Sound Exchange automatically inputs your email associated with your PLAYS account.

Type your message here. Once you are finished, hit “Send” to send the email. You can also clear your message and start over by clicking the “Clear” button


Performance Repertoire Search: Edit PLAYS Profile Sound Exchange allows you to edit your profile information at anytime. The only thing that you may not edit is your PLAYS ID (email address).

You can change your password here.

You may choose to change or edit your security question.

This section allows you to change/update your address.

You may change your phone numbers here. Make sure to click “Submit Form” to save any changes”


Take The Time To Look... It is free to do, and easy to use the search tools available on Sound Exchange’s website. There are millions of dollars in unpaid performance royalties waiting to be collected, and some of that money might just be yours! So I Found Something, Now What? Well, the next logical step would be to sign up with Sound Exchange and collect your royalties. We have an article dedicated to the registration process!! What If I Don’t Find Anything... Well, most likely it means that you don’t have any money I Should Have Found Something...But i Didn’t you do, and it’s just not showing up in the search results for various reasons. What If I Find Mistakes... If you notice something wrong with one of the titles, then your next step would be to notify Sound Exchange. Remember that Sound Exchange gives priority to it’s members, so it is in your best interest to register. (and if you found something, it’s in your best interest to register anyways!) that something should be there. In that case, go ahead and register anyways, and also send Sound Exchange an email with your concerns so that they can work to fix it. I Found A Buddy of Mine... If you find someone that you know, and your thinking that they might not know about their uncollected royalties, then you should let them know. Sound Exchange has incorporated this function into the search results, Finding Your Money...

There are a number of waiting for you at the end of the rainbow, but it could just be that reasons why things wouldn’t show up even if you are certain

For more detailed information on music publishing i recommend checking out our bookstore for some great guides to publishing!

Other Articles
• Performance Rights Organizations • How Your Music Makes Money • How to set up your own Publshing Company • Song Plugging 101 • How to Prepare for a meeting with a Publisher • How to copyright your song

Copyright Registration

Click Here