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SAG-AFTRA Members Ratify Sound Recordings Contract

Members of SAG-AFTRA have ratified a new sound recordings contract that runs through the end of 2017 with 98.8% backing among those voting.

The pact covers session singers, royalty artists, announcers, actors, comedians, narrators and sound effects artists. It 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 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 new contract is retroactive to Jan. 1 and runs through Dec. 31, 2017.

“I commend Dan Navarro and our entire negotiating team for their hard work on this agreement,” said SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard. “As technology changes the industry, it is imperative that our contracts change with the times and always put members’ best interests first and foremost.”

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.

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.

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