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Sony Music Launches New “Artists Forward” Campaign, Waives Debts for Pre-2000 Artists

In a letter, the label said it wants to "increase the ability of those who qualify to receive more money from uses of their music"

Sony Music Artists Forward campaign unrecouped debts waivved 2000
Sony Music Entertainment
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    Sony Music Entertainment is introducing a new campaign called “Artists Forward”. The project will prioritize “transparency with creators in all aspects of their development” in an effort to offer stronger “comprehensive support” to the artists on their roster worldwide.

    There are three main components to the “Artists Forward” campaign, the biggest of which is the Legacy Unrecouped Balance Program, which will no longer apply existing unrecouped balances to musicians’ earnings generated on or after January 1st of this year. To be eligible for this, artists must have signed to SME prior to the year 2000 and never received an advance from 2000 onwards. Of course, every artist’s contract may differ in terms of terminology or deals, but no matter what, “unrecouped balances” in this instance will unilaterally refer to the money owed to the label by artists whose earnings were “less than the amount of recoupable expenses extended by the company, which customarily include a signing advance, marketing, breakage, and other expenses,” explains Variety.

    In a letter outlining the campaign, the company shed some light on their motivations behind this project in particular. “Through this program, we are not modifying existing contracts,” it reads, “but choosing to pay through on existing unrecouped balances to increase the ability of those who qualify to receive more money from uses of their music.”

    Additionally, those eligible for the Legacy Unrecouped Balance Program can also utilize Real Time Advances, a new feature available through the Sony Music Artist Portal that enables “instant account advances” on projected earnings. Qualifying artists who use the portal will also be able to “request a withdrawal of all or part of their payable balance each month as soon as it becomes available” using the Cash Out feature. The portal currently available in the US and UK, with additional locations across the globe opening later this year.

    Read the letter from Sony explaining the “Artists Forward” campaign in full below.

    June 11, 2021
    Artists Forward

    Dear Sony Music Partner:

    Today Sony Music Entertainment is announcing an expansion of the comprehensive support we provide to thousands of our artists around the world, with the launch of a new initiative called Artists Forward, prioritizing transparency with creators in all aspects of their development.

    Legacy Unrecouped Balance Program

    To enhance our level of service under Artists Forward, we are unveiling a Legacy Unrecouped Balance Program, creating more payment opportunities for our long-standing artists and participants around the world.

    As part of our continuing focus on developing new financial opportunities for creators, we will no longer apply existing unrecouped balances to artist and participant earnings generated on or after January 1, 2021 for eligible artists and participants globally who signed to SME prior to the year 2000 and have not received an advance from the year 2000 forward.

    Through this program, we are not modifying existing contracts, but choosing to pay through on existing unrecouped balances to increase the ability of those who qualify to receive more money from uses of their music.

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    In addition, those eligible for the Legacy Unrecouped Balance Program can join other qualifying Sony Music artists in being able to receive advances on projected earnings using Real Time Advances, a new feature available through the Sony Music Artist Portal enabling instant account advances. It is currently available in the U.S. and U.K. and will be rolling out in additional markets around the world later this year. Qualifying artists and participants who use the Sony Music Artist Portal will also be able to request a withdrawal of all or part of their payable balance each month as soon as it becomes available using our industry-leading Cash Out feature.

    Artists and participants who qualify for the Legacy Unrecouped Balance Program will be notified of their eligibility separately in the weeks ahead.

    A Continuing Commitment to Artists

    We’re driven by our mission to provide artists with the best levels of service. The program we are announcing today is part of that continuing work and further builds on our initiatives and investments in modernized contracts, flexible deal options, advanced data and analytics insights for creators and more.

    For more information, please speak to your local label representative or visit the Sony Music Artist Portal (sme-artistportal.com).

    Best,
    Sony Music Entertainment

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