Sony Music Entertainment Pledges To Clear Out Uncollected Debts From Legacy Artists | Music
Thousands of artists who signed to Sony Music Entertainment before the year 2000 and have not recovered their advances will be able to benefit from their recordings for the first time, as part of a new initiative offered by the major label.
Although Sony does not explicitly write off artists’ debt, in order to account for any act that has reversion rights related to recovery, reports Music trade around the world, he said he would pay sales and streaming royalties to any act that has not received such payments since 2000, backdated to January 1, 2021.
A letter sent to artists on Friday said: “We are not modifying existing contracts, but choosing to pay on existing unrecovered balances to increase the ability of those who qualify to receive more money from the use of their music. . “
A Sony spokesperson said it could not name the acts concerned due to confidentiality agreements, but a source told the BBC it included “household names”.
The decision will particularly affect black artists, who have historically been subjected to unequal treatment and unfavorable royalty rates from major record companies.
Artists who signed on the label before 2000 will also be able to receive royalties on streaming, a technology that did not exist at the time of writing their contracts.
The move is part of Sony’s Artists Forward initiative to “prioritize transparency with creators in all aspects of their development,” and known as the Legacy Unclaimed Balance Program.
Musician Rebecca Ferguson – who campaigned for reform of the music industry, including a parliamentary inquiry into the welfare and treatment of artists – welcomed the movement like “an incredible start”.
Tom Gray, founder of the #Scrached disk lobbying campaign for the UK government to regulate the music industry, called him “Pretty huge stuff even if it doesn’t go far enough. A major label that accepts that there is a problem and starts to do something about it.
The issue of canceling unrecovered balances was raised during the recent parliamentary inquiry into the music streaming economy. It is already the policy of the labels of Beggars Group 4AD, Rough Trade, Matador, XL and Young, which cancel the debts not collected on the advances 15 years after the release of the last disc of a contract.
In June 2020, music rights firm BMG pledged to address historical inequalities in its treatment of black artists. In December, it released the results of the first stage of its investigation, indicating that it had found a “statistically significant negative correlation between being Black and receiving lower registered royalty rates” on four of the 33 labels. of its catalog, the difference ranging from 1.1 to 3.4 percentage points.