AFTRA Hails $50 Million Royalty Payout to Recording Artists

New York, NY, May 4, 2004—"The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists applauds the work of the [New York State] Attorney General's Office in achieving the settlement that returns millions of dollars in unpaid royalties to recording artists," said AFTRA National Executive Director Greg Hessinger following the announcement that the five major recording companies had agreed to pay $50 million in unclaimed recording and publishing royalties to thousands of artists. "AFTRA looks forward to working diligently with the record labels and other artists' groups to implement this settlement and to continue to pursue more comprehensive reform in the recording industry," Mr. Hessinger continued.

The agreement, which followed a two-year long investigation by Mr. Eliot Spitzer's office, requires Sony Music, Warner Music, Universal Music, EMI and BMG to keep better track of royalties owed to artists and their descendents. To this end, the companies have agreed to share information and to work more aggressively to locate those owed payments.AFTRA's efforts to effect royalty reform go back more than a decade during which union representatives and well-known performers have testified on numerous occasions before Congress and other legislative bodies. In addition, the union, which represents recording artists, created a new administrative post, National Director for Sound Recordings, headquartered in Washington, DC to oversee all matters in the legislative and regulatory arenas.

Press Release - Office of New York State Attorney General