LABELS’ FAIR DIGITAL DEALS DECLARATION – FAQ/INFORMATION
What is the Labels’ Fair Digital Deals Declaration?
The Labels’ Fair Digital Deals Declaration is a statement of commitment by independent record companies to treat their artists fairly in agreements relating to digital exploitation of artists’ work in recorded music agreements with third parties.
Background – why are we doing this?
In today’s music industry, new digital services launch regularly, and existing services continue to launch new features. A pattern has emerged whereby deals are done by the services with the international major companies which are usually different, and less favourable than those offered to independent companies. A key ingredient of these different deals is that the majors often receive some form of upfront benefit (either a payment or equity stake in the company), which is not connected to the actual usage of music. Revenues received in this way are unattributable to the use of individual recordings. They may be referred to (and treated) as advances, equity, delivery fees, breakage, administrative charges or other charges. In all cases, these payments or benefits are not connected to the usage of music, which creates a mechanism whereby the companies do not share these revenues or benefits with their artists.
The WIN Declaration makes it clear that signatory companies will not treat their artists like this, and will share benefits of dealing with digital services fairly and clearly with artists. This is to amplify our commitment to fairness and transparency, and to ensuring a sustainable economic relationship between the independent recorded music industry and the artists we partner with to bring our products to market.
How did this idea come about?
The idea came out of the WIN Council dinner held at Midem in early 2014. The group tasked with creating the declaration included Alison Wenham, Martin Mills, Darius van Armen, Justin West, Doug D’Arcy, Emmanuel Du Burutel and Florian von Hoyer from the WIN council. The Declaration was developed through emails and discussions, to arrive at the final document. Feedback from WIN labels has been very positive indeed, and outside our community there has been a positive reception so far. For example, the artist group in the UK have seen it and described it as a ‘game-changer’.
The simple intention is to ensure that artists are treated fairly and with transparency. Crucially a company is committing to sharing what is unattributable revenue with artists, which may be equity or breakage.
What is this FAQ sheet for?
This FAQ sheet is to assist WIN TAs and their member companies with supporting information, reasoning and background to the WIN Labels’ Fair Digital Deals Declaration. This information is and to help TAs and labels understand the reasons why the Declaration is so important at this time. It is also intended to help with any press enquiries, local or international around the time we launch the Declaration.
What do I have to do internally after I/we have signed the Declaration as a label?
We request that you communicate to your artists that you have signed the Declaration. We further request that you attach a signed copy of the Declaration to your artists’ royalty statements, at the next royalty payment run. This way they will be aware of the existence of their label’s commitment to them. Please feel free to include these FAQs when you communicate with your artists.
What is the plan to launch the Declaration?
The launch will be a Worldwide Declaration Signing Day, scheduled for 16th July 2014. This date was agreed as the official launch date for the Declaration at the WIN meeting in NY on 16th June 2014. Signatures and supporting statements and material (see below) from WIN member companies from every country will be gathered in advance of this date. On the day itself, we will announce the signatories in each country to the press in real time around the world announcing each countries signatories at the same time, local time, throughout the day. This will be announced to the press in advance of July 16th.
What do I have to do for launch?
We need every independent company who is a member of every WIN TA to review, and if happy, sign the declaration, and to make some kind of statement of support, to add to the launch event. This should include a photo or video of each company signing a printed version of the Declaration, and a written statement of support. This must be sent to WIN Secretariat at least the week before 16th July 2014. More information will be circulated by WIN Secretariat.
Who else has signed the Declaration so far (as at 27 June 2014)?
Companies and individuals committed so far include:
- Alan Galbraith – Wind Up US
- Darius Van Arman – JagJagwuar
- Peter Quicke – NinjaTune – UK
- Playground Music Sweden – Jonas Sjostrom
- Glassnote – Daniel Glass – US
- Beggars Group – Martin Mills
- Rough trade
- Young Turks
- Stolen Records (UK) – Merida Sussex
- Hospital Records (UK) – Chris Goss
- Ambiguous Records (UK) – Al Mobbs
- Finetunes Distribution (Germany)
- The Leaf Label (UK) – Tony Morley
- Mute (UK) – Daniel Miller
- Moshi Moshi (UK) – Michael McClatchley
- Secretly Group (USA) – Darius Von Armen
- Cooking Vinyl (Australia)
- Epitaph (Europe/US)
- Because – Emmanuel Du Burutel
- Altofonte Distribution (Spain) – Florian Van Hoyer
- Secret City – Justin West
- Dualtone USA
- Essential Distribution
- Fat Cat
- Hopeless Records
- Warp Records (USA)
- Nacional – USA