Indies seek a share of major labels’ eventual Spotify stock proceeds; Sony agrees

Spotify’s latest strides toward a direct public offering has led to some speculation around how the labels that own stakes in the streaming company will distribute their windfall. Universal Music Group recently announced that when it sells its Spotify stock, it will share the proceeds with its artists, echoing a sentiment expressed by Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group. But independent artists and labels are looking for more assurance that they won’t be shortchanged.

The Worldwide Independent Network’s Fair Digital Deals Declaration asks for independent record labels to offer equitable treatment to their artists when entering agreements around digital music services. The trade group is using it to encourage the majors not to forget the indie labels they distribute when considering their eventual proceeds from selling Spotify stock.

“All three major labels have committed to sharing revenues from the sales of Spotify shares with the artists directly signed to their companies but WIN has further called on Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music and Universal Music Group to give the independent labels distributed by them, and therefore those artists they represent, their corresponding share of any payout received,” WIN said in a statement.

A spokesperson from Sony replied, telling Variety that it will include the indies in sharing that money. At this time, neither Universal nor Warner have responded to WIN’s push for support.

Anna Washenko