Indie Giants Unite for 'Fair Digital Deals Declaration'

Domino, Sub Pop among labels calling for more transparent dealings with streaming services

Fair Digital Deals Declaration XL Domino Beggars Group
4AD signee Grimes will be protected by the Fair Digital Deals Declaration. Photo by Getty Images
WRITTEN BY
Elissa Stolman

More than 750 independent labels around the world have joined forces for the new "Fair Digital Deals Declaration" initiative, which demands fair and transparent accounting of digital revenues to artists. Billboard reports that XL, Beggars Group, Domino, Sub Pop, and Ninja Tune are among the signatories hoping to regain ground lost to such online services as YouTube, Spotify, and iTunes.

The agreement, coordinated by the Worldwide Independent Network, ensures that artists will receive a cut of the revenues from streaming services, and that the musician's share of the profits are "clearly explained" in contracts and royalty statements. According to the Guardian, the document also insists that artists receive a cut of "unattributed" income, meaning labels won't be able to withhold the profits they incur from streaming platforms in exchange for general access to their catalogs. The full list of indie labels supporting the Fair Digital Deal Declaration can be found at the WIN website.

WIN also published the Global Independent Manifesto, which will protect independent labels from terms that favor the major outposts. Such measures will squash the conflict that bubbled up last month when YouTube unveiled the details of new subscription service. According to WIN, YouTube offered less favorable terms to independent labels like 4AD, XL, and Domino than majors, and threatened to block their videos unless the smaller labels agreed to the terms. The Global Independent Manifesto calls for indie labels to be just as valued as major outposts.

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