Sony Music Entertainment to pay royalties to unrecovered legacy artists to help clear anticipated debts

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Sony Music Entertainment has announced that it will begin paying royalties to historic artists and producers who signed with the company before 2000, and have yet to recover their record advances, Music trade around the world reports.

The announcement was made in a letter the company sent to thousands of artists at the end of last week. The policy, dubbed the “Legacy Unrecouped Balance Program”, is part of a new Sony initiative called “Artists Forward”, which would focus on improving communication and transparency with creators.

Many older agreements and record breakthroughs, especially those signed before 2000, were made on terms that did not favor creators and made it particularly difficult for creators to secure royalties decades after the initial agreements were made. Sony’s new policy would be a first among major labels in the music industry.

While the new terms will not erase uncollected debts, they will “pay off existing uncollected balances to increase the ability of those who qualify to receive more money from the use of their music.”

The policy will retroactively impact royalty income from January 1, 2021. According to Sony, affected artists, producers and other creators will be notified of their eligibility for the Legacy Unrecouped Balance program in the coming weeks.

Review DJ Mag’s 2019 long read on how producers lose millions in royalties every year, here.

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