Beyond the glitz and glamor, the business side of music can be tough for artists.
For, acts are typically tasked with recouping the label’s spend on their projects by way of sales. As such, if they don’t meet this commercial marker, they’re effectively indebted to the label – even when they move on. So much so that music royalties may not be paid to artists, but instead, go towards settling the debt.
In a seismic move, Sony Music has announced a game-changing pivot on this practice; one that will unquestionably impact the industry in a major way.
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The recording giant has announced that it has wiped off the debts of thousands of acts that signed to its labels before the year 2000.
This has several benefits for musicians.
It means said artists will be paid royalties from January 2021 onwards (as such, there will be back payment too).
Furthermore, the move means that said acts will be able to receive income from streams of their music. Notable, as streaming is now the primary way music is consumed in the contemporary climate.
Crucially, many contracts of acts signed before 2000 did not specify concepts such as streaming. Instead, they focussed on the formats of that time such as CDs and cassettes. A costly technicality for many performers.
Hence why this new measure is being praised for effectively unlocking sizeable streaming royalties for artists.
A statement from Sony read:
“We are not modifying existing contracts, but choosing to pay through on existing unrecouped balances to increase the ability of those who qualify to receive more money from uses of their music.”
As one of the world’s leading major labels (with megastars such as Beyonce and Adele on its roster), many feel Sony’s move will cause its rivals to follow suit. All of which serves as a major win for artists.