Over 700 independent labels unite to create Fair Digital Deals Declaration

New initiative will ensure fair treatment of independent artists from digital music services including YouTube and Spotify

Hundreds of independent record labels around the world have joined together to create a new initiative promoting fair and transparent accounting to artists and music companies in respect of digital revenues.

The Fair Digital Deals Declaration represents a firm commitment from independent music labels around the world to ensure fair treatment of their artists and business interests in relation to digital use of music by third party businesses.

The declaration comes off the back of YouTube’s head of content and business operations, Robert Kyncl claiming that the video streaming site could remove videos by independently signed artists including Arctic Monkeys and Adele in an ongoing negotiation involving YouTube’s plans to launch a subscription service to its business.

Billboard reports that representatives of labels including Domino, Glassnote, Ninja Tune, Secretly Canadian, Saddle Creek, Sub Pop, XL Recordings and the Beggars Group, representing 4AD, Matador and Rough Trade, are among the 700 names on the Fair Digital Deals Declaration.

The Fair Digital Deals Declaration initiative is officially launched today (July 16) and has been coordinated by the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN).

The declaration is based on five key points with a commitment to ensuring artists signed to independent labels receive a “good-faith pro-rata share of any revenues from digital services… not attributed to specific recordings”. Going forward, independent labels plan to encourage better standards of information from digital services on the usage and monetisation of music, support artists who choose to oppose, including publicly, unauthorised uses of their music, support the collective position of the global independent record company sector and make sure that artists’ share of download and streaming revenues is clearly explained in recording agreements.

Martin Mills, Group Chairman of the Beggars Group, issued a statement on the launch of the initiative, saying: “Why wouldn’t we treat artists fairly? It seems so obvious that we shouldn’t have to say it, but let’s say it, loud and proud.”