SoundExchange trying to locate them by Dec. 15.

SoundExchange is trying to locate about 9,000 recording artists and 2,000 independent record companies before Dec. 15 when their claims for performance royalties will no longer be accepted for 1996 through first quarter 2000 collections.

The U.S. Copyright Office designated SoundExchange to collect and distribute performance royalties that musicians, vocalists and record labels are entitled to receive from digital webcasts, satellite and cable broadcasts, and other digital performances. Featured artists and record companies (or other owner of the sound recording) register online with the non-profit organization to receive the royalties.

Under federal law, royalties not claimed within three years after SoundExchange receives them will be forfeited; SoundExchange may then use them to offset actual costs of collection, distribution, establishment and enforcement of these statutory royalties.

The SoundExchange board of directors, jointly controlled by representatives of recording artists and record labels, has extended that deadline on numerous occasions, but claims to royalties paid for the years 1996 through March 31, 2000, will not be accepted after Dec. 15.

In an effort to educate and notify about 22,000 recording artists, SoundExchange has worked with the major record labels, independent labels, the Recording Academy, CD Baby, Celebrity Access, Disc Makers, the Blues Foundation, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, American Assn. of Independent Music, the Folk Alliance, the International Assn. for Jazz Education, ASCAP, SESAC, BMI and numerous others. It has also worked with individual artist management companies, business management firms and law firms.

Last year, the number of unregistered parties entitled to royalties was about 30,000.

In a final attempt to notify unregistered record labels and recording artists or their heirs that they are at risk of forfeiting royalties, SoundExchange has published the list of names on its Web site,