Over 700 independent record labels sign new fair deal declaration

Queens Of The Stone Age Perform At SSE Hydro In Glasgow
Photo (C) Ross Gilmore/Redferns via Getty Images

A group of more than 700 independent record labels have signed a new agreement calling for the fair treatment of their artists.

The Fair Digital Deals Declaration has been organised by the Worldwide Independent Network. It follows controversy over YouTube pressuring independent labels to sign what some considered unfair deals relating to their new music streaming service.

According to the Worldwide Independent Network the declaration “seeks to guarantee fair compensation, clarity and transparency for independent labels. It also puts an emphasis on allowing artists to profit from services like streaming, rather than just the label or publishing rights holders.”

The agreement comprises five major points:

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.

Among the labels to sign the Fair Digital Deals Declaration are Epitaph, Beggars Group, Rough Trade, Sub Pop, Ninja Tune, Mute, Brainfeeder, 4AD, Domino, Houndsooth and Warp.

Martin Mills, group chairman of the Beggars Group, who look after bands including Queens of the Stone Age, said: Why wouldn’t we treat artists fairly? It seems so obvious that we shouldn’t have to say it, but let’s say it loud and proud.”

Rich Bengloff, president of the American Association of Independent Music said: “This is a call for artists receiving the same fair treatment that we as independent music labels feel we should be receiving as well.”

Album Reviews | Live Reviews | News | SBA Lists | The Playlist | Under The Skin | Without A Song

YouTube will remove indie label music videos “within days”

You Tube Cropped

YouTube is expected to start removing music videos by independent artists within days.

The move comes following a dispute over proposed royalty payments to independent record labels and their artists.

YouTube – owned by Google – has finally revealed, after months of speculation, that it will be launching a subscription based music streaming service in the coming months. Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s head of content and business operations, claims that “90% of the music industry” has signed up to the new service, but that a group of influential independent labels are contesting what they have branded an “idefensible” deal.

As a result, Kyncl has estimated that videos by artists signed to labels including XL Recordings (Adele, Jack White) and Domino (Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand) could disappear from YouTube “within a matter of days.”

Helen Smith, executive chair of IMPALA, a trade body representing some of the independent labels in question, has accused YouTube of “acting like a dinosaur.” She says the move has been seen as a threat to try and coerce the labels into agreeing to the deal.

However, Kyncl said YouTube’s deal is fair to all involved. “We’re paying them fairly and consistently with the industry,” he claimed. It is reported that the major labels have signed a three-year global licensing deal with YouTube, sharing an advance of around $1 billion (£588m).

YouTube’s subscription service is expected to launch in late 2014.

What do you make of the news and the stance that independent record labels are taking? Do you think that YouTube’s actions are a threat to force a deal? Do you think that music streaming services are a help or hindrance for independent labels and artists? Get in touch and let us know what you think.

Album Reviews | Live Reviews | News | SBA Lists | The Playlist | Under The Skin | Without A Song