Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Search for Missing Royalties Funds: Musicians, Actors and Writers

Nov 23, 2010 Sylvia Cruz

Unclaimed Royalty for Recording Artists - Alvimann at Morgue File

Unclaimed Royalty for Recording Artists - Alvimann at Morgue File

Royalties are monies owned to the original creators or heirs of literary, visual, digital and art work. The work is generally copyrighted or licensed by the owners and fees are paid based on each time the work is sold or distributed. Fees and royalty payments are negotiated in contracts or agreements.

Royalties for musicians, producers, performers, writers and heirs may go unclaimed due to change of address, error in record keeping, change in company’s ownership or owners’ death. Generally, unclaimed monies get turned over from financial institutions to state’s governments. However, royalty funds can be located at guilds and unions representing musicians, actors and writers and at recording companies.

Missing Money from Royalties – What are they?

Uncollected royalty payments come from various sources and are owned to different artists, authors and their heirs. For example, music royalties may be owned to a singer who recorded a song in the past. The contract between the singer and the recording company may have stipulated for fixed royalties income over time. This also includes digital streaming recordings on internet and satellite radio.

An individual may have contributed an idea for a book, movie or documentary using a licensing agreement. This agreement may have given the owner of the idea rights to collect royalties in exchange for its use. Other examples include movie actors, authors of books and other written material and movie producers.

Find Unclaimed Royalty Money at Recording Companies

Major recording companies maintain online databases of uncollected royalty monies. These funds may come from undeliverable and returned mails by the Post Office. Funds may also be attributable to errors in bookkeeping. Some companies keep the unclaimed royalty owners names on a database online. Examples of recording companies that maintain missing money online databases include; EMI Music, Capitol Records, Warner Chappell Music and Sony/ATV Music.

Recording businesses that do not provide online data for unclaimed royalties may be contacted via their Accounting or Bookkeeping departments. These departments can assist royalty owners in doing the research for uncollected payments and with questions about their accounts.

Look for Uncollected Royalty Income at Guilds and Unions

The Screen Actors Guild, SAG, holds residuals gone unclaimed by actors and their heirs. The guild’s website at can be searched by name to locate missing residual and royalty monies. Most of the unclaimed funds belong to guild’s members who can’t be located with the address on record or to their heirs.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFTRA, is a non profit union representing artists and authors. The organization has unclaimed royalty monies for some its members. The website has information on unclaimed checks and how to claim royalties for individuals on the database.

Find Unclaimed Residuals Money at

Sound Exchange is the organization that gathers digital performance royalties for distribution to owners. Royalties sources include digital music channels, internet and satellite radio for streaming sound recordings. Beneficiaries include independent and prominent artists, music labels and heirs. Recording artists need to register with Sound Exchange to file and receive the unclaimed royalties. There is no charge for registration service.

Other Unclaimed Money Articles

Copyright Sylvia Cruz. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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