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Indie Labels Call for Transparency with Fair Digital Deals Declaration

Initiative endorsed by over 700 indie labels worldwide, including Glassnote, Domino and Sub Pop

Today marks what will hopefully be a meaningful first step in restoring balance in the emerging digital music realm, to help indie musicians be more fairly compensated for their work.  Over 700 independent labels have united in support of the “Fair Digital Deals Declaration” sponsored by the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN), a document that calls for more transparency and fair treatment for musical artists in the distribution of revenue from online services such as Spotify, YouTube and iTunes.

You can read the full open letter and manifesto here (ht: A2IM), but the key points are as follows:

We will:

  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 monetisation 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 as outlined in the Global Independent Manifesto.

As Billboard points out, the second point in particular calls out the current practices of major labels and rights holders of negotiating special deals with digital services, instead demanding that hidden revenues from these agreements be disclosed to artists and that the artists be given a fair share.

With independent labels such as 4AD, Nettwerk, Hopeless Records, Domino, Glassnote and SubPop signing on in support (see the full list of endorsers here), the Fair Digital Deals Declaration represents perhaps the greatest display of solidarity thus far among record companies in demanding fairer compensation for the artists who make the music.

Appropriately, WIN has turned to the Internet and social media to further the campaign and increase support for the initiative.  You can follow their progress by following @winformusic on Twitter or through the hashtag #fairdigitaldeal4artists.

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About the Author


David Tillman is an independent composer/arranger whose primary work involves writing jingles for commercials for radio and television, with several film and television placements to his credit as well. David has a fascination for all things related to the music business and the music industry in general, an obsession which his wife finds to be mildly unhealthy at times. His personal tastes in music are in electronica and industrial rock, and include The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and Nine Inch Nails (he loves that Trent Reznor is writing soundtracks!). When not in his office or in his man-cave, David enjoys skiing, hiking, the occasional game of golf, and sometimes just lounging by the pool. David lives with his wife and three children in Los Angeles, CA.

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