As the Spotify IPO looms, the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) has called on major labels to share the proceeds of any sale of their stock in the streaming platform with independent labels and artists distributed by the majors.
Various music labels are set to financially benefit from the sale of Spotify shares. Alongside major label stock holdings, there are also independents who negotiated equity stakes via trade body Merlin. Rights owners may also receive lump sum payments.
Universal, Sony and Warner have all now committed to sharing revenues from the sale of Spotify shares with the artists directly signed to their companies, with Universal only confirming this recently, with a spokesperson saying: “Consistent with UMG’s approach to artist compensation, artists would share in the proceeds of an equity sale”.
WIN said the independent artist community has expressed growing concern about their share of these revenues following the forthcoming Spotify listing, with CEO Alison Wenham commenting: “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 $19 billion, 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”.
The Fair Digital Deals Declaration referenced by Wenham above is a voluntary commitment made by independent record label signatories around the world to treat their artists fairly in agreements relating to digital exploitation of repertoire in recorded music agreements with third parties.