Worldwide Independent Network Announces 'Independent Manifesto'

Yesterday at MIDEM, the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) introduced its Independent Manifesto and the formation of a global council. The document (below) sets out the organization’s core principles to guide the global independent music sector. This includes, opposing market consolidation, confronting market abuse and supporting the rights of creators.

In a statement, council member Martin Mills, founder/CEO, Beggars Group (and Billboard’s recent Industry Icon Award recipient) explained the rationale behind the manifesto.  "These days independents offer a very different route to market to artists than the majors do - and it's great to have that down in words, and to spell out what matters to us."

The WIN Secretariat is hosted by the UK's Association of Independent Music. AIM chair and CEO Alison Wenham is the organization's current chair. The founding Council is made up of 15 international independent label reps (full-list below).

WIN was created in 2006 in response to business, creative and market access issues faced globally by the independent music sector.


The points below represent the collective position of the global independent record company sector, put forward by the sector’s collective voice, WIN(Worldwide Independent Network:

All points are equal in stature, and are not numbered according to any form of ranking or significance.

1. We, the independents, will work to grow the value of music and the music business. We want equal market access and parity of terms with Universal, Warner and Sony, and will work with them in areas where we have a common goal. We will work to ensure that all companies in our sector are best equipped to maximize the value of their rights.

2. We support creators’ freedom to decide how their music may be used commercially, and we will encourage individual artists and labels to speak out directly against unauthorized uses of music as well as commercial uses of music that stifle that freedom. We support creators’ right to earn a living from their work, which should be respected as a basic human right.

3. We support independent music labels that treat their artists as partners and who work with them on reasonable commercial terms, noting that labels are investors who deserve a fair return alongside their artists.

4. We promote transparency in the digital music market; artists and companied are entitled to clarity on commercial terms.

5. We oppose further consolidation in the recorded music, publishing and radio sectors since this is bad for independent music companies, their artists and fans, as it reduces market access and consumer choice.

6. We support initiatives which confront market abuse, and which aim to adapt competition laws to promote independent market access and foster collective responses by independents to potentially anti-competitive conduct by large operators.

7. We recognize that all independent music businesses contribute to local culture, diversity, jobs and export opportunities, and multiply the economic success of related industries. We will ask governments to promote and support the independent music sector in securing access to finance and tax credits, and to local and international markets.

8. We hold that collecting society revenues must be allocated and distributed accurately and transparently. This includes distribution of unclaimed money that logically belongs to the independents. We will push for the independent sector to be formally represented in the governance of collecting societies, with trade associations being eligible for board seats.

9. We support the creation of a worldwide track-level sound recording rights database, subject to neutral governance and ownership, to ensure accurate distribution of rights revenues to their rightful owners.

10. The independents will, as always, actively encourage and support new commercial opportunities for music, and will continue to support and develop new, legitimate business structures and partnerships.

January 2013

WIN Global Council:  
Michael Gudinski, Mushroom Australia
Michel Lambot, PIAS, Belgium
Stephan Bourdoiseau, Wagram, France
Emmanuel de Buretel, Because, France
Mark Chung,  Freibank Germany
Oke Gottlic,  Finetunes/VUT, Germany
Florian Von Hoyer, Altafonte, Spain
Jonas Strostrom, Playground, Sweden/Scandinavia
Laurence Bell,  Domino, UK
Doug D'Arcy, Songlines. UK
Daniel Miller, Mute, UK
Martin Mills, Beggars, UK
Daniel Glass, Glassnote, US
Jim Selby, Naxos, US
Darius Van Arman, Jagjaguwar/Secretly Canadian, US