Sony Music to pay royalties to unrecovered legacy artists and producers amid major policy change

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Sony Music Entertainment has announced that it will begin paying royalties to historical artists and producers who signed with the company before 2000 and who have yet to collect their record advances, Music trade around the world reports. Sony reportedly made the announcement in a letter the company sent to thousands of artists today; the new policy, dubbed the “Legacy Unrecouped Balance Program”, is part of a new Sony initiative called “Artists Forward”, aimed at improving communication and transparency with creators.

The nature of record deals and record breakthroughs – especially contracts signed in the 20th century – has made it not uncommon for artists to be unable to earn royalties decades after first signing their contracts. . MBW reports that Sony’s new policy – a first among the majors – does not erase unrecovered debt, but “will pay off existing unrecovered balances to increase the ability of those who qualify to receive more money from the bank. use of their music. “

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

As streaming has reshaped the way music fans consume music and how royalties are generated, many players in the music industry have called on the biggest labels to institute policies similar to “Legacy Unrecouped.” Balance Program ”.

Beggars Group — the independent label group that includes 4AD, Matador, XL and others—wipe all outstanding debts on artist advances 15 years after an artist’s last contractual album. Beggars founder Martin Mills called on majors to put such a policy in place during a speech in 2016.

Read “Amid a racial justice calculation, pioneers of rap, reggae and R&B recount their struggles to get paid” from the field.

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