CD Baby and SoundExchange Royalty Payments

CD Baby and SoundExchange Royalty Payments

Background on SoundExchange

SoundExchange is the not-for-profit organization that collects royalties for Featured Artists and Sound Recording Rights owners (often a record label) when their sound recordings are played on non-interactive digital radio. Today, this includes royalties collected from Pandora, Sirius XM, and over 2,500 webcasting services. These services pay SoundExchange, and SoundExchange pays the artists and labels, separately.

Artist Royalties and Rights Owner Royalties

Royalties administered by SoundExchange are apportioned 45 percent to the Featured Artist(s), 50 percent to the Rights Owner, and 5 percent to a fund administered by AFM and SAG-AFTRA for distribution to Non-Featured artists (e.g., session players).If you are an Artist who also owns your own master recordings, you can receive payment for both the Artist and the Rights Owner share.

However, SoundExchange policies for payments to Artists and Rights Owners differ in one very important way. While SoundExchange will agree to pay the Rights Owner share of royalties to anyone you designate – to a distributor such as CD Baby, for example – SoundExchange will only ever pay the Artist share of royalties directly to the Artist. SoundExchange will not pay Artist royalties to a label or distributor.

SoundExchange and CD Baby

According to a recent announcement, CD Baby is now able, on behalf of its members, to collect sound recording royalties that are paid to SoundExchange and owed to rights owners. If you are signed up with CD Baby for this particular service, SoundExchange will direct the Rights Owner share of your royalties to CD Baby, who will then be responsible to pay you according to the terms of your agreement. However, SoundExchange will not pay your Artist share of royalties to CD Baby. You must register directly with SoundExchange to receive Artist royalties. And, if you prefer to collect your rights owner royalties from us as well, you may be able to register directly with SoundExchange.  Please contact CD Baby if you have any questions about your contract with them.

Register with SoundExchange

Registering with SoundExchange is a one-time sign-up process, which you can complete online.  The registration site URL is:

Once you have completed your registration, SoundExchange will send you your Featured Artist and/or Rights Owner royalties whenever your music is played by qualifying services, and you’ve earned at least $10 in royalties.   If you register for electronic payments, you will get paid monthly; otherwise SoundExchange sends out physical check quarterly.


For more information, including details on who is qualified to collect Featured Artist and/or Rights Owner royalties, please visit our website:

SoundExchange has Customer Service representatives available to talk with you about any part of the registration or royalty collection process.  Representatives are available from 9am – 6pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday at this number:


Or you can email us at anytime at [email protected].

Sign-up now!

Your Friends at SoundExchange