After labels like Domino and XL expressed their anger at YouTube earlier this year over how the video streaming site paid its royalties to their artists, a huge number of independent labels have now come together to support a new declaration that is aimed at creating transparency over what musicians actually get paid.
After it emerged that indie labels were getting the raw end of the deal in terms of royalty payments, the 'Fair Digital Deals Declaration', overseen by the Worldwide Independent Network, “exists to support the independent music community through interaction with representative trade organisations and groups” to ensure that all artists, regardless of their labels, are paid equally.
4AD, Warp, XL, Domino, Ninja Tune, Mute, Brainfeeder, Sub Pop, Drag City, Merge, Jagjaguwar, Smalltown Supersound, Rough Trade, Moshi Moshi and many more are just some of the hundreds of labels already showing their support for the charter, which so far includes the following terms:
1. Ensure that artists’ share of download and streaming revenues is clearly explained in recording agreements and royalty statements in reasonable summary form.
2. Account to artists a good-faith pro-rata share of any revenues and other compensation from digital services that stem from the monetization of recordings but are not attributed to specific recordings or performances.
3. Encourage better standards of information from digital services on the usage and monetization of music.
4. Support artists who choose to oppose, including publicly, unauthorized uses of their music.
5. Support the collective position of the global independent record company sector.
The Worldwide Independent Network has also drawn up a ‘Global Independent Manifesto’, which highlights the inequality between major and independent labels when it comes to royalty shares, and states that payments “should be valued and remunerated at the same level as a major company copyright.”
For more information on this, visit the official WIN website here.