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London, March 6th 2018 – The Worldwide Independent Network (WIN), the organisation that represents the interests of the global independent music community, has announced a new initiative to add to the signatories of the 2014 Fair Digital Deals Declaration.

As Spotify prepares to list directly on the New York Stock Exchange in the near future, a number of music companies – including those independent labels who negotiated equity stakes via trade body Merlin – stand to benefit from the sale of shares.

The large music rights owners have created new contractual relationships with DSPs, and in addition to equity, may also receive lump sum payments, typically for access, administration, ‘breakage’ and other ‘non-attributable’ charges.  

In July 2014 WIN launched The Fair Digital Deals Declaration (below), a voluntary commitment made by independent record label signatories around the world to treat their artists fairly in agreements relating to digital exploitation of artists’ work in recorded music agreements with third parties. This was subsequently used in France to create the Code of Conduct, and in March 2017 was cited in the House of Lords as an example of best practice.

Around the world, over the next few weeks, the independent trade bodies will be encouraging new member label signatories and a re-commitment from current signatories to the Declaration.6

As a voluntary initiative it is up to individual member labels to sign The Fair Digital Deals Declaration in their territories.

All three major labels have committed to sharing revenues from the sales of Spotify shares with the artists directly signed to their companies but WIN has further called on Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music and Universal Music Group to give the independent labels distributed by them, and therefore those artists they represent, their corresponding share of any payout received.

The independent artist community has expressed growing concern about their share of these revenues following the forthcoming listing and in response WIN has re-affirmed the commitments made under The Fair Digital Deals Declaration and has adopted a clear stance that amplifies its continuing adherence to fairness and transparency.

Alison Wenham, CEO of WIN said, “The Fair Digital Deals Declaration is a voluntary initiative launched in 2014 and is a clear statement of those labels’ commitment to their artists. With the forthcoming Spotify listing, which will value the company at an estimated $19bn, they have the perfect opportunity to reiterate their position and more labels are expected to sign up over the coming weeks. We are fully focused on ensuring a sustainable economic relationship between the independent recorded music industry and the artists it represents.”

Martin Mills, Beggars Group Founder and Chair of WIN said: “It is entirely appropriate that independents, who have given birth to every significant new musical movement over the last 70 years, should take the lead in committing to fair and reasonable treatment of all artists and application of contract terms as the digital era continues to move into uncharted waters.”.


For further information:

Andy Saunders at Velocity Communications
+ 44 (0) 207 060 9111
[email protected]

The Worldwide Independent Music Industry Network (WIN) is a global forum for the professional independent music industry. It was launched in 2006 in response to business, creative and market access issues faced by the independent sector everywhere. For independent music companies and their national trade associations worldwide, WIN is a collective voice. It also acts as an advocate, instigator and facilitator for its membership.


About A2IM:
A2IM is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization headquartered in New York City that exists to support and strengthen the independent recorded music sector. Membership currently includes a broad coalition of more than 700 Independently-owned American music labels. A2IM represents these independently owned small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) interests in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community. In doing so, it supports a key segment of America’s creative class that represents America’s diverse musical cultural heritage. Billboard Magazine identified the Independent music label sector as 37.32 percent of the music industry’s U.S. recorded music sales market in 2016 based on copyright ownership, making Independent labels collectively the largest music industry sector.

Learn more about A2IM here.
For information about how to join our community, see here.