SAG-AFTRA announce new streaming deal terms with record labels

October 2015

Recorded music, performers



The major record companies have agreed a new deal with a performers body in the US, improving the lot of their members from label streaming royalties. SAG-AFTRA represents around 160,000 members, including DJs and recording artists in addition to actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, news writers, TV presenters and voiceover artists.
The body’s members have now voted to ratify a new National Code of Fair Practice for Sound Recordings (Sound Recordings Code) for online streaming and non-permanent digital downloads. This covers money generated for performers outside the US, with particular allowances for label contributions to artists’ Health and Retirement (H&R) savings and the agreement includes all three major record labels, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group as well as signatory independent record labels.


The benefits of the new contract for the artists include ‘Groundbreaking’ inclusion in payment formulas of label revenue generated from worldwide exploitation of member work in online streaming services and as non-permanent digital downloads’. There is also a new provision for the payment of AFTRA Health and Retirement (H&R) contributions on a portion of domestic and foreign streaming payments;
Substantial restructuring of the compensation system for licensing of sound recordings, streamlining and making licensing more effective for the industry, while generating more revenue for performers.
The SAG-AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Sound Recordings covers session singers, royalty artists, announcers, actors, comedians, narrators and sound effects artists who work on recordings in all new and traditional media and all music formats, as well as audiobooks, comedy albums and cast albums.


The news comes a month after another artist rights group, The American Federation of Musicians (AFM), sued the majors for underpayment of an agreed pension fund.

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