AFTRA has reached a tentative agreement with record labels on the AFTRA Sound Recordings Code. The national contract covers royalty artists and session singers who work with the more than 1,200 record companies, including the four major labels.

The agreement includes wage increases for union session performers, improvements in health and pension coverage for royalty artists and a new formula for compensation on digital downloads. Complete details of the tentative agreement will not be released until the terms are presented to the AFTRA National Board's administrative committee for its approval prior to membership ratification.

In addition to covering popular music, the code covers classical recordings, Broadway cast albums, spoken word recordings and audio books.

"As we come together at the Grammy Awards this Sunday to celebrate the accomplishments of performers, this new agreement for the Sound Recordings Code highlights the importance of AFTRA members working together to win better contracts throughout the entertainment and media industry," says Roberta Reardon, president of the national union of more than more 70,000 performers, journalists, broadcasters, recording artists and other talent working in the entertainment and news media.

The tentative agreement was reached late Wednesday afternoon after AFTRA and the recording labels hammered out a compensation formula for digital downloads.

"This is a breakthrough agreement for AFTRA members," says Randall Himes, AFTRA assistant national executive director for sound recordings and co-lead negotiator for AFTRA. "The members of the AFTRA negotiating committee -- session and royalty singers, rap artists, and other performers across all fields of recorded music from pop and hip-hop to Latin and country -- worked diligently to achieve this contract for their fellow AFTRA members. The challenge of negotiating while the industry is confronting both a digital transition and rampant piracy underscores the remarkable work of the committee members in keeping their focus."