Meet the 50,000 Musicians Who Have Money Awaiting Them

Skrillex
Skrillex
 Getty Images

Not all musicians will go to war over money owed to them. In fact, there's at least 50,000 of them who are leaving some $31 million in a pot just waiting to be claimed.

Like federal and state tax bureaus that sometimes come out with lists of all those who have yet to claim refunds, SoundExchange is practically begging musicians to come forward and collect revenues on digital performance royalties.

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“We want to get the money out of our bank account and into theirs – plain and simple,” said SoundExchange President Michael Huppe to Hypebot.

SoundExchange is a nonprofit organization that collects and distribute royalties for music streamed on Internet, satellite, and cable radio. Some streaming services think the rates it charges are too expensive, and Sirius XM Radio is currently suing the organization for allegedly conspiring to monopolize copyrights from the recording industry.

But for all the controversy that SoundExchange has engendered over the years, not all musicians have signed up to receive their shares.

So SoundExchange launched a searchable database on Wednesday so that musicans (and some labels) can find out whether they are owed money. The artists who are sitting out checks ranging from a few bucks to as much as $100,000 range from A Band Called Pain to Zach Galifinakis, with Skrillex and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch somewhere in the middle.

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The pot of money is growing.

Ed Barton, director of digital media at Strategy Analytics, recently projected that "streaming services will take over as the leading revenue growth engine for the music industry," thanks to the growth of Spotify and Pandora.

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