Indie Labels Repeat Calls For 'Fair Share' Of Spotify Equity Payout

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Less than a week after Spotify officially filed for a public offering, indie body WIN (Worldwide Independent Network) has reiterated its call for a fair share of revenues from any future equity sale. 

All three majors have committed to sharing Spotify stock proceeds with their artists, as has independent label organization Merlin, but WIN additionally wants Universal, Warner and Sony Music to compensate indie labels distributed by them "their corresponding share of any pay out received."

"The independent artist community has expressed growing concern about their share of these revenues following the forthcoming [Spotify] listing," said WIN.

In response, the umbrella organization said it was re-affirming the commitments it made as part of the Fair Digital Deals Declaration' -- a voluntary initiative promoting fair and transparent accounting to artists and music companies. 

Over 700 labels signed up to the pledge upon its launch in 2014, including Domino, Cooking Vinyl, Epitaph, Glassnote, Sub Pop, XL Recordings and the Beggars Group, representing 4AD, Matador and Rough Trade.

Since its unveiling, the number of signatories has grown to over 1,000 labels, spanning 29 countries, with WIN saying that it will be encouraging more members to sign up ahead of Spotify's listing.

One of the declaration's key points is that labels will agree to "a good-faith pro-rata share of any revenues and other compensation" from digital services "not attributed to specific recordings or performances."

"It is entirely appropriate that independents, who have given birth to every significant new musical movement over the last 70 years, should have taken the lead in committing to fair and reasonable treatment of all artists and application of contract terms as the digital era continues to move into uncharted waters," said Beggars Group Founder and WIN chair Martin Mills in a statement.  

Echoing his words, WIN CEO Alison Wenham called the declaration "a clear statement of those labels' commitment to their artists and said the organization was "fully focused on ensuring a sustainable economic relationship between the independent recorded music industry and the artists it represents."

"With the Spotify listing, we will now see [the declaration] really bear fruit," agreed IMPALA's Helen Smith. "In the current debate in Europe about copyright and artist remuneration, this is a fantastic example of the independent sector's ability to take the lead and organise itself in the digital age."