Fair Digital Deal Declaration Industry Support


BASCA, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and home of The Ivors, is officially announcing its support and solidarity for WIN (Worldwide Independent Network who represent the interests of independent record labels worldwide), IMPALA (independent record labels in Europe) and AIM (independent record labels in the UK) in their campaign against Youtube’s deal making practices with independent labels.

BASCA firmly believes that negotiations between all parties should be fairly and transparently conducted.

Youtube are imposing unfair contracting conditions on independent labels and they also insist collecting societies make contracts under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) which mean that they cannot share with their own membership the rates achieved for their work. This prevents writers from being able to complain about the downturn in their income from some digital sources, a matter BASCA members are increasingly concerned about.

BASCA Chairman Simon Darlow, co-writer of Slave to the Rhythm (Grace Jones) and numerous hits for artists from Cliff Richard and Toyah, now a media composer of more than 130 TV themes including the Premier League anthem, BBC news channels, talkSPORT radio and shows for Chris Tarrant:

“BASCA is against NDAs which hide what appear to be poor streaming rates for songwriters and composers. We cannot afford to let these practices undermine the value of songwriting and composing and leave the music industry with a talent drain which will affect the UK both culturally and financially.”

FAC (Featured Artists Coalition)

The FAC welcomes and supports the new ‘Fair Digital Deals Declaration’ made yesterday by the World Independent Network (WIN) and a multitude of independent labels. We applaud how this sets the bar for industry-wide transparency and best practice in its dealings with artists.

In recent years, there have been widespread reports, shrouded in the secrecy of Non-Disclosure Agreements, that digital deals with distributors contain huge upfront payments.

These ‘catalogue-access fees’ or Non-Artist Specific Advances are rumoured to run into hundreds of millions of dollars with long-term royalty rates being significantly lowered in exchange. Unfortunately, it is these rates upon which artist payments are based and excess income that is not attributable to individual artists goes straight to the bottom line of the companies concerned

We understand the financial risk involved in licensing new platforms, especially given the volatile and highly competitive nature of the digital environment. But surely artists should participate in all revenues that derive from catalogue value, however the financial deals are structured?

WIN describe this in terms of fairness. The FAC would go one step further and say that all labels should have a fiduciary duty to artists, as well as their shareholders, to protect and grow the value of the copyrights which are core to their business, and conduct third-party agreements with artists’ best, long-term interests in mind.

This declaration is a huge step forward for the record business and their relationships with artists and we look forward to seeing the list of participants grow to encompass all those who invest in those artists.

MU (Musicians Union)

The MU supports The Fair Digital Deals Declaration, launched by the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN).

The Fair Digital Deals Declaration is a statement of commitment made by independent record labels to treat their artists fairly in agreements relating to digital exploitation of artists’ work in recorded music agreements with third parties.

MPG (Music Producers Guild)

The music industry has a long history of unfairly exploiting the work of artists without whose creativity the industry would simply not exist,” says producer and MPG executive board member Mick Glossop. “The Fair Digital Deals Declaration is a welcome initiative, which seeks to address those injustices by promoting transparency and accountability.