Global Independent Standard

The Global Independent Standard is a 10-point global collective manifesto for independent music entrepreneurs and organisations which can be adopted and applied nationally and globally.

Promoted by WIN in collaboration with IMPALA, it was first announced at Midem in January 2012 and subsequently revised in 2014.


The points below represent the collective position of the global independent record company sector, put forward by WIN.

All points are equal in stature, and are not numbered according to any form of ranking or significance.

  1. We, the independents, will work to grow the value of music and the music business. We deserve equal market access and parity of terms with Universal, Sony and Warner, and an independent copyright should be valued and remunerated at the same level as a major company copyright. We will work with the majors in areas where we have a common goal. We will work to ensure that all companies in our sector are best equipped to maximize the value of their rights.
  2. We support creators’ freedom to decide how their music may be used commercially, and we will encourage individual artists and labels to speak out directly against unauthorized uses of music as well as commercial uses of music that stifle that freedom. We support creators’ right to earn a living from their work, which should be respected as a basic human right. We expect any use of music by commercial third party operators to be subject to fairly negotiated licensing terms, in a market where any use of music is an end in itself, not so-called promotion driving a subsequent sale.
  3. We support independent music labels that treat their artists as partners and who work with them on reasonable commercial terms, noting that labels are investors who deserve a fair return alongside their artists.
  4. We promote transparency in the digital music market; artists and companies are entitled to clarity on commercial terms.
  5. We oppose further consolidation in the recorded music, publishing and radio sectors since this is bad for independent music companies, their artists and fans, as it reduces market access and consumer choice.
  6. We support initiatives which confront market abuse, and which aim to adapt competition laws to promote independent market access and foster collective responses by independents to potentially anti-competitive conduct by large operators.
  7. We recognize that all independent music businesses contribute to local culture, diversity, jobs and export opportunities, and multiply the economic success of related industries. We will ask governments to promote and support the independent music sector in securing access to finance and tax credits, and to local and international markets.
  8. We hold that collecting society revenues must be allocated and distributed accurately and transparently. This includes distribution of unclaimed money that logically belongs to the independents. We will push for the independent sector to be formally represented in the governance of collecting societies, with trade associations being eligible for board seats.
  9. We support the creation of a worldwide track-level sound recording rights database, subject to neutral governance and ownership, to ensure accurate distribution of rights revenues to their rightful owners.*
  10. The independents will, as always, actively encourage and support new commercial opportunities for music, and will continue to support and develop new, legitimate business structures and partnerships.

* The initially envisioned database has been effectively replaced by the international message exchange hub portal provided by the Repertoire Data Exchange.