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WMG follows Sony Music in tackling unrecouped artists problem


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Warner Music Group has become the second major label to announce its plans for helping musicians who are still unrecouped from deals signed decades ago – and thus may not be receiving royalties.

In WMG’s case, its new policy covers artists and songwriters who a.) signed their deals before 2000 and b.) did not receive an advance that year or since. “We won’t apply their unrecouped advances to royalty statements for any period beginning July 1, 2022 or after,” explained WMG in its newly published Environmental Social Governance (ESG) report.

We think that the wording implies that, like Sony Music’s similar program, the unrecouped balances are not being wiped – it’s just that the royalties are being paid through regardless. And just as journalists started wondering whether Sony and WMG’s moves would up the pressure on Universal Music Group to follow suit, MBW reported that UMG will be doing just that, although an announcement may not come until it publishes its next ESG report.

This is all very welcome, with props also due to independent label Beggars Group, which wrote off – this *was* a wipe – unrecouped balances several years ago, and has privately and publicly urged major labels to follow suit.


Written by: Stuart Dredge