One of the oldest and saddest stories in the recorded music industry has always been the naivety of artists who, hungry for fame, rush to sign contracts without thinking about future ramifications.
True horror stories of songs sold for a bottle of wine or a used Cadillac are no longer the rule. But other stories abound of contracts that rack up massive debt and lock artists up for one-sided deals, so popular artists never see anything beyond the advance, a sum that is always cannibalized by nibbling. a thousand kisses.
This is why you see some artists on the road even as their health deteriorates. This is their only real source of income, since royalties on recorded music only reward a few.
Accounting practices are so ingrained that it was a shock this week when Sony Music did something about it. The company has announced that it has canceled the debts of thousands of artists who signed with the label before 2000. They will now pay royalties from January 2021 to those affected.
This means that many artists will finally be able to receive money from the streaming services.
“We are not modifying existing contracts, but choosing to pay on existing unrecovered balances to increase the ability of those who qualify to receive more money from the use of their music,” he said.
Sony Music declined to name the artists affected by their decision. However, the BBC reported that the deal included “household names”.
So far, Universal Music and Warner Music haven’t said if they’ll match the effort.
Sony Music’s charity offer comes as the UK Parliament examines the recording industry’s accounting practices. An ad hoc organization called #BrokenRecord lobbied for greater transparency and scrutiny of transactions.
It is also due to the fact that music attracts more money than ever. Catalog sales from Bob Dylan and Stevie Nicks, among others, have drawn huge sums of money, and Universal Music itself is reportedly considering a sale that would value it at around $ 40 billion.
Gomez musician Tom Gray, who founded the #BrokenRecord campaign, told the BBC that Sony’s move was “incredibly welcome. From the perspective of someone running a campaign to try to get these companies to behave more ethically and transparently, that sounds like a victory, ”he said.
It should be interesting to see how this will resonate for musicians who have created works that bring great joy, but have not seen their fair compensation. So far let’s give it a 7 because it has a good rhythm and you can dance to it. It will certainly become a real success if others follow suit.