Frequently Asked Questions

General


What is the Sound Recording Special Payments Fund (“SRSPF”)?

Is the SRSPF affiliated with the American Federation of Musicians, the AFM-Employers’ Pension Fund or AFM Locals?

What rules govern the SRSPF and this website?

How do I know the website is secure?

Main Annual Distribution


Who is eligible to receive a SRSPF Main Annual Distribution, which is distributed to musicians who earn wages on sound recordings?

How does the SRSPF calculate the Main Annual Distribution payments?

When will I receive my Main Annual Distribution payment?

What should I do if I believe I am eligible for a distribution and have not received it?

I did not receive a distribution this year because the amount was less than $25 and is regarded as "de minimis". Will I ever receive a distribution amount that is "de minimis"?

Is the income from my Main Annual Distribution check considered wages?

I am a Canadian musician. Will my distribution payment be in Canadian or U.S. dollars?

Unclaimed Distributions From Prior Year(s)


How long will the SRSPF hold any unclaimed distributions due me from a prior year?

How do I know if I have unclaimed distributions due me from a prior year?

Sampling Distribution


Who is eligible to receive a SRSPF distribution for revenue received on sampled songs and how is the distribution calculated?

I have proof that my song(s) was sampled, who is responsible for collecting the money from the record company and having it sent to the Fund?

My band mate received a payment for a sampled song. Why didn’t I?

Can I have my payment sent to my bank account via direct deposit?

Is the payment from my sampling distribution check considered “wages?”

Traditional Music Video Distribution


Who is eligible to receive a distribution for revenue received for Traditional Music Videos and how is the distribution calculated?

My band mate received a payment for a song in a traditional music video. Why didn’t I?

Can I have my payment sent to my bank account via direct deposit?

Is the payment from my Traditional Music Video check considered “wages?”

Concert Video Distribution


Who is eligible to receive a distribution for revenue received for Concert Videos and how is the distribution calculated?

My band mate received a payment for a song in a concert video. Why didn’t I?

Can I have my payment sent to my bank account via direct deposit?

Is the payment from my Concert Video distribution check considered “wages?”

Withholding and Other Tax


How does the SRSPF determine the amount of income tax to withhold from my annual distribution?

Can I elect to have no income tax withheld from my annual distribution?

Can I have additional income taxes withheld from my annual distribution?

I was paid for my recording session work under my corporate tax ID number. Can I have my distribution payment issued under my corporate tax ID number?

Address


Why do I have to confirm a new address and other personal data in writing?

Can I have my distribution mailed to an address other than my residence address?

I sent my new address to the AFM. Why didn’t you receive it?

Recording Session(s) Statement


Why didn’t I receive a statement with my distribution payment showing all of the wages on which my distribution is based?

Why doesn’t my distribution amount match my recording session statement amount?

What should I do if there is a recording session that I worked on and it is not listed on my recording session statement?

I found an engagement listed on my Pension Fund statement and it’s not listed on my SRSPF statement. What should I do?

The SRSPF confirmed a session was missing from my statement. Will my account be credited and will I get an additional payment?

Beneficiary


How do I designate a beneficiary to receive payments in the event of my death?

How much money will my beneficiary receive and for how long?

Does the SRSPF deduct taxes from distributions paid to beneficiaries?

What happens to the distribution payment if I don’t designate a beneficiary or my designated beneficiary predeceases me?

Website Registration


Why do I receive an “Invalid Confirmation” message when I try to activate my account?

I am trying to complete my registration, why doesn’t your website recognized my email address?

What should I do if I did not receive the activation email titled “Registration for Sound Recording SPF's website” notifying me to activate my account?

Could you please send me my username and password to access your website?

Can you activate my account?

Levy


What is a Levy?

Who do I contact to get a Levy released?

I have a release from the tax authority. Why was my distribution check issued to them?

Can my spouse or accountant receive information regarding my levy from the SRSPF?

General


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What is the Sound Recording Special Payments Fund (“SRSPF”)?

The SRSPF was created by collective bargaining between the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (“AFM”) and various companies that employ musicians to record music under the terms of the Sound Recording Labor Agreement (“SRLA”). Each company pays the SRSPF a portion of its revenues on sales of sound recordings, music videos and concert DVD's it produces. They also make lump-sum payments for songs sampled into new songs as defined under the SRLA. The SRSPF distributes those revenues (net of operating expenses) to musicians who work under the SRLA. (back to top)


Is the SRSPF affiliated with the American Federation of Musicians, the AFM-Employers’ Pension Fund or AFM Locals?

No, we are an independent third-party. We do however obtain certain data (e.g. B-4 session forms, musician’s scale wages and addresses, etc.) from the American Federation of Musicians, the AFM-Employers’ Pension Fund and AFM Locals. (back to top)


What rules govern the SRSPF and this website?

The official rules governing operation of the SRSPF are set forth in the Sound Recording Labor Agreement and the Sound Recording Special Payments Fund Agreement. The terms of these Agreements will control in the event of any inconsistency between those terms and any provisions described on this website. To view the Sound Recording Special Payments Fund Agreement, click here. Click here to view certain provisions of the SRLA that affect the SRSPF, (e.g. covered musicians, music video contributions, record company obligations). A copy of the entire SRLA can be found at AFM.org. (back to top)


How do I know the website is secure?

All pages viewed on our website are encrypted, with a high-grade encryption (RC4-128 bit), before being transmitted over the internet. Encryption software scrambles the data being transmitted, making it almost impossible to view by unauthorized users and is the security protocol used by most major banks and financial institutions. The security of our website has been verified by VeriSign Trust Network, a trusted authority for this purpose. The pages on our website that VeriSign Network has deemed secure are identified with an “s” in the https:// prefix of our website address for the page, rather than the standard http:// prefix. (back to top)

Main Annual Distribution


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Who is eligible to receive a SRSPF Main Annual Distribution, which is distributed to musicians who earn wages on sound recordings?

Each musician for whom scale wages are reported under the SRLA is eligible for a distribution in the year following the year in which the Form B-4 session report was received by the American Federation of Musicians and Employer’s Pension Fund, Musicians' Pension Fund of Canada (from which the SRSPF receives its data), and in the four following years. In calculating the distribution due an eligible musician, only those scale wages paid from recording companies that are actively engaged in producing and selling sound recordings for profit are includable. (back to top)


How does the SRSPF calculate the Main Annual Distribution payments?

Each musician’s distribution payment is calculated based on the following formula:

The musician’s total adjusted scale wages over the prior five years       x Total current distribution
Total of all musicians’ adjusted scale wages over the prior five years

Adjusted scale wages over the prior five years generally means the total of: 100% of the scale wages reported in the year before the date of distribution (the “distribution year”), plus 80% of the scale wages reported in the second year before the distribution year, plus 60% of the scale wages reported in the third year before the distribution year, plus 40% of the scale wages reported in the fourth year before the distribution year, plus 20% of the scale wages reported in the fifth year before the distribution year. For a detailed example of a distribution calculation, go to the distributions page. (back to top)


When will I receive my Main Annual Distribution payment?

The SRSPF makes its Main Annual Distribution on or about August 1 of each year. (back to top)


What should I do if I believe I am eligible for a distribution and have not received it?

If you don’t receive a Main Annual Distribution payment on or about August 1, and you had wages under the SRLA during any one of the five previous years, it is possible that your distribution amount was "de minimis" (i.e. < $25.00) or the SRSPF does not have your current address. In that case, once you provide us with your new address and documentation to verify it, we will send you any outstanding distributions within about 2 to 4 weeks. (back to top)


I did not receive a distribution this year because the amount was less than $25 and is regarded as "de minimis". Will I ever receive a distribution amount that is "de minimis"?

Yes, provided the de minimis amount when added to the musician's distribution amount in either or both of the two following years total at least $25. However, any such cumulative amounts that are under $25 and remain undistributed by the end of the third fiscal year shall be redeposited to the SRSPF's general account for distribution to all musicians as part of the next annual distribution. (back to top)


Is the income from my Main Annual Distribution check considered wages?

Yes, the Internal Revenue Service has ruled that all payments from the Fund are wages. (back to top)


I am a Canadian musician. Will my distribution payment be in Canadian or U.S. dollars?

All distribution payments are issued in U.S. dollars. (Please note that your tax reporting forms, T4A and RL-1, and recording session statement are reported in the equivalent Canadian dollars.) (back to top)

Unclaimed Distributions From Prior Year(s)


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How long will the SRSPF hold any unclaimed distributions due me from a prior year?

If a musician who is entitled to a distribution cannot be located or has not cashed an outstanding distribution check, the distribution amount is held on behalf of the musician until the end of the third fiscal year following the distribution year. If the musician has still not claimed the amount by the end of the third fiscal year, it will be forfeited by the musician and added to the SRSPF's general account for distribution to all eligible musicians as part of the next annual distribution. For example, on April 30, 2010, the unclaimed distributions due to musicians from distribution year 2007 was forfeited and redistributed to all eligible musicians as part of the 2010 Main Annual distribution. (back to top)


How do I know if I have unclaimed distributions due me from a prior year?

You can check for your name on our current list of money owed musicians. If you locate your name and would like to submit a claim, you should first register to become a member of our website by going through the website registration process or you can contact the SRSPF. Once you have completed the website registration process and have created your website account, you can fill out an unclaimed distributions claim form and submit it to the SRSPF. (back to top)

Sampling Distribution


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Who is eligible to receive a SRSPF distribution for revenue received on sampled songs and how is the distribution calculated?

Each musician who performed on the original song that was produced under the SRLA and is sampled into a new song is eligible for a distribution. These payments are distributed to the musicians on a pro-rata basis (e.g. if 10 musicians played on a song and the revenue received for the song was $400, then each musician would receive $40) and are paid annually on or about May 1st. (back to top)


I have proof that my song(s) was sampled, who is responsible for collecting the money from the record company and having it sent to the Fund?

Send us the documentation you have and we will review it. If we determine a signatory record company should have made a contribution for the song, we will write a letter requesting that they make a payment. (back to top)


My band mate received a payment for a sampled song. Why didn’t I?

There are multiple reasons why this could have occurred, including: 1) We don’t have your social security number or address on file. 2) The recording session contract, album liner notes or internet music website did not identify you as a musician on the song. 3) You were identified with the song but not as an instrumentalist, arranger, orchestrator or copyist, which are the only types of musicians eligible for a payment. 4) You were identified as being a royalty artist for the song who are not entitled to payments for sampled songs. 5) Your total payment was “de-minimis” (i.e. less than $10 for the year or when added to either or both of the prior two distribution years). (back to top)


Can I have my payment sent to my bank account via direct deposit?

No, currently we can only make payments by check. We may have direct deposit available in the future. (back to top)


Is the payment from my sampling distribution check considered “wages?”

Yes, the IRS has ruled that all payments from the SRSPF are wages. (back to top)

Traditional Music Video Distribution


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Who is eligible to receive a distribution for revenue received for Traditional Music Videos and how is the distribution calculated?

Each musician who performed on a song that was produced under the SRLA and the song is embodied in the audio element of a traditional music video is eligible for a distribution. These payments are distributed to the musicians on a pro-rata basis (e.g. if 10 musicians played on a song and the revenue received for the song was $1,000, then each musician would receive $100, less administrative expenses and the Fund’s portion of payroll and unemployment taxes). The distributions are paid annually, on or about September 30th. Unlike the Fund’s main annual distribution, traditional music video distributions are not recurring. Therefore, you will only receive a payment in a year in which the Fund has determined you are eligible for a distribution. (back to top)


My band mate received a payment for a song in a traditional music video. Why didn’t I?

There are multiple reasons why this could have occurred, including: 1) We don’t have your social security number or address on file. 2) The recording session contract, album liner notes or internet music website did not identify you as a musician on the song. 3) Your total payment was “de-minimis” (i.e. less than $25 for the year or when added to either or both of the prior two distribution years). (back to top)


Can I have my payment sent to my bank account via direct deposit?

No, currently we can only make payments by check. We may have direct deposit available in the future. (back to top)


Is the payment from my Traditional Music Video check considered “wages?”

Yes, the IRS has ruled that all payments from the SRSPF are wages. (back to top)

Concert Video Distribution


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Who is eligible to receive a distribution for revenue received for Concert Videos and how is the distribution calculated?

Each musician who performed on a song in a concert which was produced under the SRLA, and that song is embodied in the audio element of the video, is eligible for a distribution. These payments are distributed to the musicians on a pro-rata basis (e.g. if 10 musicians played on a song and the revenue received for the song was $1,000, then each musician would receive $100, less administrative expenses and the Fund’s portion of payroll and unemployment taxes). The distributions are paid annually, on or about September 30th. Unlike the Fund’s main annual distribution, concert video distributions are not recurring. Therefore, you will only receive a payment in a year in which the Fund has determined you are eligible for a distribution. (back to top)


My band mate received a payment for a song in a concert video. Why didn’t I?

There are multiple reasons why this could have occurred, including: 1) We don’t have your social security number or address on file. 2) The recording session contract, album liner notes or internet music website did not identify you as a musician on the song. 3) Your total payment was “de-minimis” (i.e. less than $25 for the year or when added to either or both of the prior two distribution years). (back to top)


Can I have my payment sent to my bank account via direct deposit?

No, currently we can only make payments by check. We may have direct deposit available in the future. (back to top)


Is the payment from my Concert Video distribution check considered “wages?”

Yes, the IRS has ruled that all payments from the SRSPF are wages. (back to top)

Withholding and Other Tax


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How does the SRSPF determine the amount of income tax to withhold from my annual distribution?

If you have provided us with a completed Form W-4, we will withhold federal income taxes based on that form. If you have not provided us with a completed Form W-4, we will withhold federal income taxes as if you were single with one exemption, as required by law. If you are a Canadian musician, we withhold taxes based on the tax rules under the Canadian tax code. (back to top)


Can I elect to have no income tax withheld from my annual distribution?

You can elect to have no U.S. federal tax withheld from your annual distribution by submitting a new Form W-4 to the SRSPF by June 1. This election is valid only for one year, so you must make a new election by June 1 in each distribution year that you want no U.S. federal income tax withheld. (back to top)


Can I have additional income taxes withheld from my annual distribution?

You can elect to have additional U.S. federal income tax withheld from your annual distribution by submitting a Form W-4 to the SRSPF with the dollar amount you want deducted by the June 1 before the distribution. Your election will stay in effect for future distributions unless you change it. If you would like additional withholding taxes deducted for your State taxes, please request the appropriate form from the SRSPF. (back to top)


I was paid for my recording session work under my corporate tax ID number. Can I have my distribution payment issued under my corporate tax ID number?

No. Distribution payments must be treated as wages by ruling of the IRS and only individuals, not corporations, can receive wages. (back to top)

Address


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Why do I have to confirm a new address and other personal data in writing?

The SRSPF obtains musician information from many different sources (e.g., Form B-4 session report, AFM affiliated entities, independent databases). Therefore, for your protection, it is our policy to confirm changes in your address and other personal data by obtaining your written confirmation that those changes are correct. (back to top)


Can I have my distribution mailed to an address other than my residence address?

Yes. While the SRSPF still requires your residence address, you can have mail directed to a different address. Mail or fax us a request with your mailing address and include your social security number or social insurance number, date of birth, signature and date. (back to top)


I sent my new address to the AFM. Why didn’t you receive it?

The SRSPF is a separate entity from the AFM, and while the SRSPF receives certain information from the AFM, the AFM is not obligated to provide us with address information and we do not rely on the AFM for your current address. It’s the musician’s responsibility to send us their new address so we can update our database. (back to top)

Recording Session(s) Statement


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Why didn’t I receive a statement with my distribution payment showing all of the wages on which my distribution is based?

Your distribution is based on your wages over the five years preceding the distribution year. The SRSPF issues a statement along with your annual distribution showing recording sessions and wages reported only during the most recent calendar year. If you would like copy of your statement for another year(s) and you are a member of the website, it is available to print online, otherwise you may request it by contacting the SRSPF. (back to top)


Why doesn’t my distribution amount match my recording session statement amount?

Your statement lists the recording sessions and wages reported only in the most recent calendar year. Your distribution amount is based on a calculation of any adjusted wages you had and all musicians had over the most recent five calendar years. (back to top)


What should I do if there is a recording session that I worked on and it is not listed on my recording session statement?

To help research the missing engagement(s), please provide us with the recording session dates and the name(s) of the leader and employer and also any available copies of Form B-4 contracts, session reports and/or pay stubs. (back to top)


I found an engagement listed on my Pension Fund statement and it’s not listed on my SRSPF statement. What should I do?

Send a copy of your Pension Fund Statement to the SRSPF and note the missing engagement. You will be contacted by mail once we have researched our records. (back to top)


The SRSPF confirmed a session was missing from my statement. Will my account be credited and will I get an additional payment?

Yes. Your account will be credited for the full amount of the wages and reflected in the next annual distribution. (back to top)

Beneficiary


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How do I designate a beneficiary to receive payments in the event of my death?

If you are a member you can complete the beneficiary form that is available on-line, otherwise contact Donna-Marie Henry (ex. 9425) to obtain the beneficiary form, fill it out, and return it to the SRSPF. (back to top)


How much money will my beneficiary receive and for how long?

Your beneficiary will receive the same amount to which you would have been entitled had you lived. The beneficiary could receive distributions for up to five years, since a musician’s wages are allocated over five years in accordance with the distribution formula. (back to top)


Does the SRSPF deduct taxes from distributions paid to beneficiaries?

Yes, if a musician dies in the year the distribution check is issued, taxes are withheld from the beneficiary check. If the musician died in a prior year, no taxes are withheld from the beneficiary check. Canadian beneficiary checks are taxed in accordance with the respective Canadian Providence tax regulations. (back to top)


What happens to the distribution payment if I don’t designate a beneficiary or my designated beneficiary predeceases me?

If you don’t designate a beneficiary or your designated beneficiary predeceases you, the distribution will be paid to your surviving spouse or, if there is no surviving spouse, then to your estate or, if there is no estate, the distribution will be added to the Fund’s general account for distribution to all participating musicians in the next annual distribution. (back to top)

Website Registration


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Why do I receive an “Invalid Confirmation” message when I try to activate my account?

Your answer to at least one of the challenge questions was incorrect. Please contact the Fund via email at info@sound-recording.org. (back to top)


I am trying to complete my registration, why doesn’t your website recognized my email address?

It is possible that the email address you entered during the registration process is different from the email address that the SRSPF has on file. Please contact the Fund at info@sound-recording.org. (back to top)


What should I do if I did not receive the activation email titled “Registration for Sound Recording SPF's website” notifying me to activate my account?

If you have not received this email, please contact the Fund at info@sound-recording.org. (back to top)


Could you please send me my username and password to access your website?

The SRSPF does not send new members a username and password. Rather, you create your own username and password after 1) your registration is approved, 2) you enter your personal information (e.g. date of birth), 3) answer the challenge question and 4) agree to the terms and conditions. (back to top)


Can you activate my account?

No. You must follow the instructions included in the activation email that was sent to you titled “Registration for Sound Recording SPF's website”. (back to top)

Levy


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What is a Levy?

A levy is an amount that is withheld from your distribution under a court order from a government agency for a debt that you owe, and remains in effect until the levy is released. The amount withheld is remitted directly to the levy holder. Levies are imposed to collect unpaid income taxes, child support payments, delinquent student loans and other legal obligations. (back to top)


Who do I contact to get a Levy released?

You should contact the levy holder and request they issue a release to the SRSPF. (back to top)


I have a release from the tax authority. Why was my distribution check issued to them?

One of the following may have occurred: 1) the release was not received by the SRSPF at least one month prior to the annual distribution, 2) the release was never received by the SRSPF, or 3) the SRSPF was not named in the release. (back to top)


Can my spouse or accountant receive information regarding my levy from the SRSPF?

Yes, provided the SRSPF has received a signed letter from the musician authorizing the release of his/her information to the person(s) named in the letter. (back to top)