700 indie labels unite to sign the Fair Digital Deals Declaration in opposition of major label acquisitions
In the whirlwind world of dance music and the digital sphere, it’s no secret that rights and rules have become a topic of controversy. Specifically in recent months following Kaskade’s concerns and Soundcloud’s litigation decisions while Spotify simultaneously continues to rise in popularity and concern artists in terms of payout, a light has appeared at the end of the tunnel – and this time, in favor of the artist. Billboard Biz reports that in an effort to “treat artists fairly in relation to the digital exploitation of recorded works with third parties,” 700 indie labels including Ninja Tune, XL Recordings, Glassnote and Beggars Group have come together to sign the Fair Digital Deals Declaration.
Launched by the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) and coming into effect July 16th, the Fair Digital Deals Declaration outlines five important points that all 700 and counting signatories have agreed to uphold.
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.
Alongside the unveiling of the Fair Digital Deals Declaration comes WIN’s Global Independent Manifesto, a ten point guideline that further explains that independent labels preserve the right to maintain an equality between fellow larger and more commercial labels – specifically naming Universal, Sony, and Warner as the major companies in need of equilibrium.
The Declaration has seemingly arrived in the nick of time, as rumors of Soundcloud’s agreement to sell a portion of the company’s stake to the aforementioned label giants UMG, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group to bypass copyright infringement issues continue to snowball along with the platform’s recent privacy clause alterations.
WIN chairman Alison Wenham explained her hopes for the future following the Declaration’s implementation. “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.”