The AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund (“The Fund”) is a 501c(6) not-for-profit organization whose purpose is 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.
As digital platforms have grown, so have the Fund’s royalty collections and payout demands. While it is increasingly challenging to identify, locate, and pay the right people, The Fund has continued to expand and has collected and distributed millions of dollars in royalties on behalf of non-featured performers.
“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.
Last year, $60M was distributed, and on April 30th this year, The Fund made a record-breaking distribution of over $70M, for a total of over half a billion dollars distributed since its inception.
“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.”
Though the music industry is slowly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, its repercussions will be experienced for years to come.
“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. Every year, we’ve been able to collect more revenue on behalf of our participants,” White continues.
“This year, The Fund set a record with more than $70M in distributed royalties. We want to encourage would-be participants to visit the website for more information.”
As artists are searching for alternative streams of revenue in the face of economic uncertainty, The Fund offers both union and non-union session musicians and vocalists a sense of relief.