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Indies Unite! 700 Labels Launch Campaign for Fair Digital Music Deals


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An ongoing battle with YouTube over alleged heavy handed negotiating tactics and unfair terms for their unlaunched subscription music service, has united the global independent music community on the broader issue of fairness in all digital deals. In a not so veiled jab at YouTube and other digital services, global indie trade group WIN has released an open letter signed by more than 700 independent labels that calls for fair digital music deals.

“The big print giveth and the small print taketh away.” 

That line from Tom Waits headlines the Fair Digital Deals Declaration, an open letter which calls not just for more transparency both between digital music services and labels, but also between the labels and their artists. Indie labels signing on include Domino Recordings, Beggars Group and Secretly Canadian.

The five key points of the manifesto are:

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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