The Sound Recording Special Payments Fund
This is an important income source that is not being accessed by many local recording musicians. We estimate that as much as a quarter million dollars of potential income is missed annually by recording musicians in our province.
Musicians who play on a major album in Canada or the US are entitled to significant residual payments from the Sound Recording Special Payments Fund (SRSPF) if they work under an AFM recording contract for a major release.
These payments can represent thousands of dollars in income for artists and bands. They are accessed by filing an AFM recording contract and also provide substantial opportunities for contributions to the participating musicians' pension funds.
How much can you receive by filing a recording contract? A twelve-tune recording by a group of four musicians can generate more than $7000 in Special Payments to the participating musicians over a five year period!
To access these payments, a recording contract must be filed, pension contributions made by the producer, and work dues paid to the Local by participating musicians. We are always happy to work with musicians to help them set up a recording budget that allows for this.
To calculate the approximate value of Special Payments to musicians and the costs of filing a recording contract for a Major Canadian Release use our SRSPF CALCULATOR.
The Sound Recording Special Payments Fund (SRSPF) was established in 1964 through an agreement between the American Federation of Musicians and recording companies employing musicians represented by the AFM, and embedded in a collective bargaining agreement known as the Phonograph Record Labor Agreement (predecessor to the current Sound Recording Labor Agreement).
Record companies pay into the SRSPF twice a year, based on their sales of recordings. Funds also come into the fund from ringtone sales. The contributions from record labels are only about three cents per physical unit sold, but each year this still adds up to millions of dollars.
Every August 1st, the accumulated funds are distributed to musicians who have recorded music for a major release in Canada or the United States under an AFM contract.
The payment to each musician depends on the total amount received by the fund in each year, the number of musicians receiving residual payments in the year, and the year in which the recording was made, since payments are paid out over a five year period in decreasing amounts following the filing of the recording contract.
To qualify for the Special Payments Fund you must have worked on the recording of a major release, with everyone on the recording being under AFM contract, and for which pension contributions were made and a contract filed with a Local of the AFM.
If you have worked on such a recording and have not received your Special Payment cheques, it may be that the Special Payments Fund does not have your current address. Payments are held for three years, so check with the SPF office immediately, if you think this may be the case. Lists of musicians owed money for the last three years of payments can be checked online here.
Please contact our office by email (), or phone (709-722-8005) to set up a meeting if you are involved in a recording and want to know more about your rights under the Sound Recording Special Payments Fund.
For further information and details about the Fund, contact the SRSPF directly.