The Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) has announced today an initiative called The Fair Digital Deals Declaration.

WIN says the declaration is "a statement of commitment made by independent record labels to treat their artists fairly in agreements relating to digital exploitation of artists’ work in recorded music agreements with third parties."

The move seems to be born out of the ongoing fight between independent labels and YouTube, over a contract for a digital music streaming service that WIN says is unfair to artists. WIN - an organisation set up to represent the interests of a number of global independent labels and music services - remains in negotiations with YouTube over the contract, aiming to get a more reasonable deal.

A large number of indie companies worldwide have signed on to the Fair Digital Deals Declaration, including international powerhouses 4AD, Brainfeeder, Captured Tracks, XL Recordings, Young Turks, and Sub Pop. Closer to home, the likes of Flying Nun, Round Trip Mars, and Mushroom Group have signed on, and it also has the backing of Independent Music NZ.

Christy Whelan, Chairperson of IMNZ, says they "are proud to support this initiative and demonstrate our commitment to fairness and transparency when dealing with the complex issue of Artists' digital rights."

The five key points of the declaration are:

  • We will ensure that artists’ share of download and streaming revenues is clearly explained in recording agreements and royalty statements in reasonable summary form.
  • We will account to artists a good-faith pro-rata share of any revenues and other compensation from digital services that stem from the monetisation of recordings but are not attributed to specific recordings or performances.
  • We will encourage better standards of information from digital services on the usage and monetisation of music.
  • We will support artists who choose to oppose, including publicly, unauthorized uses of their music.
  • We will support the collective position of the global independent record company sector as outlined in the Global Independent Manifesto.

July 16th has been labelled Worldwide Declaration Signing Day, and it's understood indie labels and orginisations will be announcing their agreement to the declaration over the next 24 hours. So far, over 700 indie labels have agreed to get involved.