by Rhian Jones
As of today, more than 750 independent labels worldwide have signed up to the Worldwide Independent Network’s (WIN) ‘Fair Deals Declaration’ – a statement of commitment to treat artists fairly in agreements relating to digital exploitation of their work.
The campaign asks labels to agree to five measures when signing agreements with third parties for the use of recordedmusic. It follows on from the recent furore over what were deemed to be YouTube’s ‘unfair’ terms for its upcomingstreaming service.
WIN highlights ‘growing concern’ from the artist community over ‘huge lump sum payments’ with new digital services that could offer disparity between the value of the deal to the rights-holder versus the per-stream rate shared with the artist.
By getting labels on board with the declaration it aims to “amplify commitment to fairness and transparency” between the independent recorded music industry and the artists.
The five key points are as follows:
- We will ensure that artists’ share of download and streaming revenues is clearly explained in recording agreements and royalty statements in reasonable summary form.
- We will account to artists a good-faith pro-rata share of any revenues and other compensation from digital services that stem from the monetisation of recordings but are not attributed to specific recordings or performances.
- We will encourage better standards of information from digital services on the usage and monetisation of music.
- We will support artists who choose to oppose, including publicly, unauthorized uses of their music.
- We will support the collective position of the global independent record company sector as outlined in the Global Independent Manifesto.
Alison Wenham, chairman of WIN commented, “A healthy commercial relationship based on mutual trust andpartnership between artists and labels is critical to the long term financial health of our industry. We believe that this new initiative, which seeks to put in place simple, fair and transparent guidelines for labels dealing with third party digital partners is a template for best practice.
“We invite companies – majors and indies – to join the hundreds of companies who have already signed and put a stop to the practice of diverting revenues from the artists without whom we would not have a business.”
The campaign can be followed on Twitter from the @winformusic account and using the hashtag #fairdigitaldeal4artists.