Universal Music Group is close to settling a potential class action alleging that it underpaid artists including Chuck D, Rick James and Whitesnake for their digital sales. Billboard reports that 10 April has been marked as the deadline for a settlement, following similar agreements reached by WMG and Sony Music in the past. 

The artists’ complaint remains the issue of whether downloads are licences or sales – and thus whether they are due a 15% or 50% royalty share. The report claims that any settlement in this case will also cover EMI. But note Billboard’s claim that next to court (or, perhaps more likely, next to be settled before court) will be complaints about how labels account for and pay out artists’ streaming income.

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