Sony Music is paying royalties to unredeemed old artists and producers as part of a major policy change
Sony Music Entertainment has announced that it will pay royalties to long-established artists and producers who signed with the company prior to 2000 and have not yet received their record advances, reports Music Business Worldwide. Sony reportedly announced this in a letter the company sent to thousands of artists today; The new policy, known as the Legacy Unrecoped Balance Program, falls under a new Sony initiative called Artists Forward, which aims to improve communication and transparency with creators.
Due to the nature of record deals and record advances – especially those made in the 20th century – it’s not uncommon for artists not to be able to earn royalties decades after signing their deals. MBW reports that Sony’s new policy – a first among the big labels – does not wipe away unpaid debts, but rather “pays through existing unpaid credits to increase the ability of those who qualify to earn more money from their music to obtain. ”
The policy retroactively affects license fee income from January 1, 2021. According to Sony, artists, producers and other qualified participants will be notified of their eligibility for the Legacy Unrecoped Balance Program in the coming weeks.
As streaming has changed the way music fans consume music and how royalties are generated, many in the music industry have called for larger labels to introduce policies similar to the Legacy Unrecoped Balance Program.
The Beggars Group – the independent label group to which 4AD, Matador, XL and others belong – is paying off all outstanding debts from artist advances 15 years after the last contractual album by an artist. Beggars founder Martin Mills called on the major labels in a speech in 2016 to introduce such a policy.
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