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Unpaid Royalties

Some Musicians' Union Royalties cannot be distributed to musicians immediately upon processing. Find out how we manage these royalties and how can you find out if you are owed music royalties from the MU.

Last updated: 08 May 2024

When we are unable to pay owed royalties to musicians

The MU deals with a huge number of recordings, music uses and musicians. Where we know a musician performed on a recording, and where we have allocated them a portion of royalties, we will pay these royalties to them as soon as possible.

While we have developed a considerable database of the information about the recordings, there are occasions when we are unable to immediately distribute the income we collect. The two main reasons for this are:

  • Incomplete line-up information: we don’t know the full list of musicians who performed on a particular recording.
  • Incomplete contact/payment information: we have the full line up of musicians, but we don’t have up-to-date contact or payment details for all of them.

Incomplete contatc or payment information

In cases where the MU has incomplete payee information, contact information, or beneficiary information, or has lost contact with a musician or their estate, then we will hold a portion of unpaid royalties indefinitely, until we have the information that we need to make the payment.

The MU will conduct research and publish lists of incomplete line-ups and unpaid musicians. If you are listed or believe you are due royalties, please email

Incomplete line-ups

Where we know a recording was used, and where we have allocated a portion of royalties to a recording, we will pay these royalties to the relevant musicians on the line-up as soon as possible.  Where we believe we have incomplete line-up information (i.e. where we have less names than the number of musicians we believe performed on the recording) we will hold the royalties for the unnamed musicians for at least one year before the unpaid revenue is cleared down.  During this year, we conduct research and advertise the incomplete line-up on the MU website.

Download the lists