In June, shortly after the music industry slowed for “Blackout Tuesday,” the label and publisher BMG began a review of their historic record deals to see if black artists were being adequately compensated. Today it revealed its first results, reports the BBC. Among four of his labels, there were “significant differences” between license fees for black and non-black artists, according to the report. According to Rolling Stone, BMG did not name the four labels, citing data protection regulations. In some cases, royalty fees for black artists were 3.4 percent lower.
“While differences are not necessarily indicative of bias, there have been instances of differences that are significant enough to need consideration,” said Ben Katovsky, BMG COO, who led the investigation. “We will follow this through to its conclusion.” CEO Hartwig Masuch asked other large music companies to examine record deals with them. BMG is the first company to carry out such an investigation.
The label had pledged to complete the exam within 30 days, but found the exam more difficult to conduct than expected, Katovsky told Rolling Stone. He added, “While these legacy contracts may have been willingly entered into, are fully legally enforceable, and we have paid the previous owners full market value for them, we believe we can do better. We’ll be making suggestions shortly to do just that. “
Founded in 2008, BMG acquired most of its catalog between 2009 and 2016, which includes artists such as Nina Simone and Grandmaster Flash.
Read “In the midst of a racial justice reckoning, rap, reggae, and R&B pioneers share their struggles to get paid.”