More Than 750 Indie Labels Sign Fair Digital Deals Declaration

Signees pledge to treat their artists fairly in regard to digital agreements with third parties.

In the ongoing battle to get their fair share of the growing digital pie, more than 600 indie labels have signed a Fair Digital Deals Declaration launched by the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN).

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WIN has been leading the charge against YouTube’s streaming service contract for indie labels. Most recently, The British Academy of Songwriters voiced its support, speaking out against Google’s video service.

WIN’s membership stretches across every continent, with trade associations in all the well-developed legitimate music markets taking a particularly active role — including AIM (U.K.), A2IM (USA), AIR (Australia), CIMA (Canada), VUT (Germany), IMNZ (New Zealand), AIRCO (South Africa), UFI (Spain), APROFIP (Peru), ABMI (Brazil) — and Impala representing the whole of Europe.

The 750-plus indie labels from more than 21 countries that have signed the declaration are pledging to treat their artists fairly in regard to digital agreements with third parties.

These are the declaration’s five key points:

• 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 monetization 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 monetization 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.

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More indie labels are expected to sign today.

WIN chairman Alison Wenham said, “A healthy commercial relationship based on mutual trust and partnership 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.”

Here’s a partial list of some of the labels and organizations that already have signed:

4AD, Acephale, Aeroplane Music Services, anti-, Arbutus, Asthmatic Kitty, Bar/None, Barsuk, Beggars Group, Brainfeeder, Captured Tracks, Cooking Vinyl, Dangerbird Records, Dead Oceans, Dine Alone Records, Drag City, Dualtone, Eleven Seven Music, Epitaph, Fabric Records, Fat Cat, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Flying Nun Records, FutureGroove Music, Ghostly International, Glassnote, Hellcat, Hit and Run Records, Houndstooth, Imagem Music, INgrooves Music Group, Jagjaguwar, Kill Rock Stars, Knitting Factory, Last Gang Records, Luaka Bop, Matador, Merge, Merok, Moshi Moshi, Mushroom Group, Mute, Nacional, Nettwerk, NinjaTune, Numero Group, Partisan, Rough Trade, RVNG Int’l, Saddle Creek, Secretly Canadian, Side One Dummy Records, Smalltown Supersound, Smithsonian Folkways, Stones Throw, Sub Pop, The Orchard, Tommy Boy, True Panther, Tuff Gong Worldwide, UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music, Warp Records, Werkdiscs, Wind-up, Witchita Recordings Ltd, XL Recordings, YepRoc, Young Turks