Managers applaud Universal’s breakage payment commitments

UK managers have welcomed statements from Universal Music Group and Universal Publishing in which they pledge to share with artists advances and breakage from digital services like Spotify and YouTube.

This week has seen both parties confirm that they distribute at least some of the guaranteed revenue payments with acts.

First UMG told MBW that it “chooses to share with artists minimum guarantees as well as unrecouped digital advances”.

Then a leaked memo from Universal Music Publishing CEO and Chairman Jody Gerson stated: “We will adhere to a standard of transparency with our performance rights licenses by sharing with our songwriters terms and all monies under such licenses, whether royalties, unearned advances, or flat payments.”

These comments came after both Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment made similar pledges. Warner has been sharing breakage with artists since 2009.

It’s a similar story with the independents: last year, worldwide independent music body WIN launched its Fair Digital Deal Declaration.

“We are hoping that we are seeing a new beginning, replacing a broken ecosystem with one that recognises the value all parties bring to the table.”

MMF Statement

It’s since been signed by over 1,000 indie labels who all promise to ‘account to artists a good-faith pro-rata share of any revenues and other compensation from digital services that stem from the monetisation of recordings’.

The Music Managers Forum said in a statement: “The UK’s Music Managers Forum (MMF) welcomes the addition of Universal Music Group and Universal Publishing to the list of companies that will pay breakage to artists.

“Warner Music , Sony Music and the independents who signed the WIN charter have been doing the right thing in this area already – some for up to 6 years.

“The change comes as the voice of the artist has taken centre stage with public statements from the newly-formed International Artists Organisation after years of campaigning by the MMF and the FAC (the UK’s Featured Artist Coalition).

“Many have spoken as the voice of the creator in recent years but the only people who can realistically make that claim are the artists themselves.

“The IAO (International Artist Organisation) have our full support in carrying out this task and shining the light of transparency in all the dark corners of a music business that would not exist without artists’ creativity.

“We hope that we are seeing a new beginning and welcome an open discussion – however difficult – of all the issues that concern us and to replace a broken ecosystem with one that recognises the value that all parties bring to the table.

“It is said you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. We want to see more eggs broken and put to work baking a bigger pie that is sliced up fairly – with all the ingredients in it .”

The statement is co-signed by the MMF’s Diane Wagg (Co-Chair),  Stephen Budd (Co-Chair) and Jon Webster (CEO).Music Business Worldwide

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