$70 Million Distributed to Musicians by the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Fund

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The AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund (IPRDF) has distributed a record high of $70 million to non-featured performers.

The AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund (IPRDF) unveiled the $70 million distribution today, via a formal release that was shared with Digital Music News. In early May of last year, the non-profit entity – which collects and distributes royalties for tracks “played on satellite radio, non-interactive streaming, and other digital formats domestically and internationally” – disclosed a payout of $62 million to non-featured performers, including background vocalists and session musicians.

At the time, this was the largest sum that the IPRDF had distributed since debuting in 2008. Moreover, the new record-high distribution of $70 million has elevated the Fund’s cumulative payout past the half-billion-dollar mark.

The concise release also notes that “it is increasingly challenging to identify, locate, and pay the right people” royalties, besides featuring statements in support of the Fund from vocalist Kudisan Kai (who’s worked with artists including Elton John) as well as Take 6’s Alvin Chea.

As the name suggests, the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund was initially created by the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). These days, the Fund is an independent, 501c(6) not-for-profit organization. That oftentimes creates confusion, though the Fund treats all musicians equally — union or non-union.

Addressing the distribution milestone in a statement, IPRDF COO Sidney Kibodeaux White said: “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.

“Every year, we’ve been able to collect more revenue on behalf of our participants. 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,” finished the longtime SAG-AFTRA manager of sound recordings, who began serving as COO of the Fund in September of 2018.

There’s ample evidence of the unprecedented disruption – financial and otherwise – that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about in the music space, but evidence suggests that the return of crowd-based entertainment (as well as normal recording schedules and practices) will arrive sooner rather than later.

For instance, Travis Scott this week announced that he plans to bring his Astroworld Festival back to Houston in November – albeit for two days as opposed to the usual one. And while the rapper and entrepreneur is the festival’s only confirmed act thus far, fans purchased all 100,000 of the Astroworld 2021 tickets in less than an hour after they went on sale earlier today.

Finally, the British concert industry late last month expressed clear-cut support for COVID-19 vaccine passports – albeit with a few caveats – and 5,000 mask-free and non-socially distanced individuals recently attended a concert in Liverpool as part of an investigation into the bug’s transmissibility at large events.

One Response

  1. Stephanie Toland

    I am just curious when the checks will come to the musicians of beneficiaries. It is a wonderful thing for sure. I know last year was early but usually it is July.
    Thank you so much.