SAG-AFTRA has reached a tentative three-year successor deal with the recording industry, covering session singers, royalty artists, announcers, actors, comedians, narrators and sound effects artists.
The deal covers work by performers for Sony Music Entertainment, affiliates of Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, Capitol Records LLC and Hollywood Records for recordings in all new and traditional media and all music formats, along with audiobooks, comedy albums and cast albums.
The deal now goes to SAG-AFTRA members for ratification.
The new deal includes a payment formula for online streaming and non-permanent digital downloads for revenues generated outside the United States through platforms such as Spotify, Tidal and Rdio. It’s the first time that the labels have included revenue generated outside the U.S. in any payment streams under the union’s contract.
The current contract includes such provisions for revenues generated in the U.S.
The agreement is the first new contract covering sound recordings since the 2012 merger of SAG and AFTRA and will be known as the SAG-AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Sound Recordings. The previous agreement expired Dec. 31 and the new contract is retroactive to Jan. 1 and runs through Dec. 31, 2017.
“SAG-AFTRA and the labels came to the table with ambitious, visionary goals. The changes reflected in this agreement set the stage for a significant expansion of participation for our members in the global market,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s chief operating officer and general counsel, who served as co-lead negotiator.
Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the recording industry’s bargaining group commenced last fall with sessions taking place over several months in New York and Los Angeles.
“The music industry continues to face existential challenges, which make the importance and value of our partnership with creative talent a top priority,” said Bernard Plum, lead negotiator for the labels.
“We are proud to have worked with the SAG-AFTRA leadership who were willing to show the flexibility needed at this critical juncture. With both sides recognizing the need to make crucial changes, we are able to move forward in a new and progressive agreement that also expands the pool of revenue in which the performers will share.”
The deal includes payment of AFTRA Health and Retirement contributions on a portion of domestic and foreign streaming payments; “substantial” restructuring of the compensation system for licensing of sound recordings; an annual 2% increase to minimums; a 0.25% increase in the health and retirement contribution rate effective 2017; a 12.5% increase in the cap on health and retirement contributions for groups of three or more performers; and a “substantial” increase in cap on label payment for roster artist health insurance eligibility.