The new digital music economy consists of fractions of pennies, multiplied by billions of transactions, to cover mechanical, master-use and performing royalties. But without a centralized database of artist and track information, performance rights organizations (PRO) have often been unable to distribute money appropriately, denying publishers, labels and artists of royalties that are rightfully theirs.

SoundExchange, the nonprofit organization tasked by the U.S. Congress to distribute digital performance rights royalties for satellite radio and Internet music streams, ended 2008 with about $40 million in royalties that it couldn't distribute due to insufficient identifying data, with another $39 million held in escrow for artists and labels who hadn't yet registered with SoundExchange.

What can be done about this situation?

Click here to read SoundExchange executive director John Simson's five steps that the industry can take now.