FOR RELEASE ON SEPTEMBER 1, 2017
Royalty Claim Launches Free Platform to Tackle Unclaimed Music Royalties, “Address Unknown” Section 115 NOIs, and Black Box Royalties
Over 45M records of unclaimed royalties and music license records have been made available for public searching and claiming -- for free -- thanks to the work of the Royalty Claim Initiative.
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA, September 1, 2017 -- Today, Royalty Claim has announced the launch of its Royalty Claim Platform v1.0. The online database application makes available over 45 million records of unclaimed royalties and music licenses, which have been retrieved and processed through the work of the Royalty Claim Initiative. Music creators, copyright owners, and their beneficiaries can sign-up for a free account today to search, find, and claim unclaimed royalties and music licenses at www.royaltyclaim.com.
A member of the Music Industry Research Association and the Open Music Initiative, Royalty Claim embodies both a research initiative -- the Royalty Claim Initiative -- and a free online database application -- the Royalty Claim Platform.
The Royalty Claim Initiative conducts ongoing research into the global music licensing ecosystem. Specifically, the initiative is concerned with royalty pipeline inefficiencies, legislation and organizational policies, copyright loopholes, and backroom agreements that collectively contribute to the resulting global music royalties problem. The platform is powered by data that is gathered, processed, and analyzed by the initiative's researchers and data scientists.
Royalty Claim founder and chief researcher, Dae Bogan, who is also an Innovation Fellow at the UCLA Center for Music Innovation and a Lecturer of Musicology at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, was inspired to develop Royalty Claim after conducting independent research into the global music licensing ecosystem while in graduate school. After earning a master's degree in music industry administration, with a focus on music publishing and copyright administration, from California State University - Northridge, Bogan expanded on his research during the early R&D phases of his start-up TuneRegistry, a music and rights metadata management platform that enables music creators and rightsholders to streamline rights registrations and the delivery of metadata.
“I realized back in 2015,” Bogan begins, “that what the independent music community really needed, especially DIY musicians, is a centralized database to search the billions of records of unpaid royalties, incomplete music licenses, and unattributed ‘black box’ royalties that’s fragmented across the greater music industry. What’s more frustrating than the idea that these funds exist, is that many of the individual payments that are owed expire every day due to varying statutes of limitations. This is an urgent time sensitive matter.”
Statutes of limitations are imposed by legislation or organizational policy, which stipulates that many of these funds will only hold royalties for 3 years. After that time, the payee may forfeit their rights to the royalties and the royalties will be absorbed by the fund administrator to cover administrative costs or get redistributed to its constituents. The problem is millions of potential payees go unfound, and therefore uncontacted, due to erroneous or incomplete metadata received by the fund administrators. And Bogan believes that some organizations are unwilling or unable to sufficiently administer their responsibilities to music creators and rightsholders.
“Since I was already engaging music rights organizations to work with TuneRegistry,” Bogan continues, “I figured I’d go a step beyond just facilitating the registration of compositions and sound recordings and try to unlock this messy royalty information. Ultimately, this proved more challenging than I had hoped. Many of these organizations do not have the desire, means, and/or permission to share the data that we are seeking; at least not immediately.”
In early August, Bogan presented some of the initiative's research findings at the Music Industry Research Association’s first inaugural MIRA Conference at UCLA. Bogan highlighted that music users had paid the US Copyright Office $1.8M to file over 16M NOIs in the first half of 2017.
A slide from the “[Preview] The State of Unclaimed Royalties and Music Licenses in the United States” presentation at MIRA Conference.
Royalty Claim’s researchers and data scientists utilize a number of methods to acquire information. They discussed their sources in a blog post published on the Royalty Claim website back in August. At launch, Royalty Claim’s data primarily consists of US-based sources. However, the data does include information about foreign copyrights licensed and/or monetized in the United States. There is effort underway to expand to more funds and more regions.
About Royalty Claim | www.royalyclaim.com
The Royalty Claim Platform is the world's first publicly accessible portal to easy-to-search databases of unclaimed royalty payments and music licenses. For the first time, music creators and rights-holders are able to quickly search, identify, and act on certain music licenses and royalty payments to which they may be entitled. Royalty Claim researchers and data scientists locate, retrieve, synthesize and import an array of published and unpublished records that reference statutory notifications of certain music licenses, unattributed royalties (so-called "Black Box" royalties) and settlements; and income participants (payees) in undistributed royalties that stem from collective bargaining agreements, international reciprocal agreements, statutory royalties, and more.