Industry Groups Call on Recording Academy to Eliminate ‘Archaic’ Music-Publishing Provision

Recording Academy
courtesy of the recording academy

While it was announced during the Grammy Awards on Sunday, the formation of the Recording Academy’s Songwriters and Composers Wing was not done in secret, and the Songwriters of North America, the Black Music Action Coalition, the Music Artists Coalition and the 100 Percenters responded quickly with an open letter to the new organization calling on it to eliminate the Minimum Delivery and Release Commitment (MDRC) requirement in music-publishing deals. It follows in full below.

Gentlepersons: On behalf of our respective members and the songwriter and composer communities, we would like to extend our sincerest thanks and congratulations to the Recording Academy on the establishment of the new Songwriters and Composers Wing. This is a necessary and welcome step toward supporting us in the fight to help songwriters and composers achieve the recognition and fair treatment they dearly deserve.

As you know, the work of songwriters and composers is not only the backbone of our industry; it is the soundtrack to our lives. Despite the pivotal role played by songwriters and composers, they have too often been an afterthought in the music industry. As such, the Recording Academy’s efforts to establish this new arm must be applauded. We welcome you and hope you will join us in the ongoing fight for fairer treatment and pay for songwriters and composers in the new digital music ecosystem.

As a first collective effort with the Songwriters and Composers Wing of the Recording Academy, we are asking you to join us in our campaign towards the swift and comprehensive elimination of the Minimum Delivery and Release Commitment (MDRC) requirement. As Tiffany Red, Grammy award-winning songwriter and founder of the non-profit The 100 Percenters, has pointed out, this archaic provision keeps thousands of songwriters and composers locked into oppressive, never-ending publishing deals. This necessary change must apply to all publishing deals going forward, as well as retroactively.

We applaud those publishing companies that have already been leaders in the modernization of music publishing agreements and have committed themselves to the removal of the MDRC from existing deals, including, but not limited to, Sony Music Publishing, Warner Chappell, Universal, and BMG but it is past time for all their JV partners and all other publishers to follow their example.

The music industry is evolving, and we look forward to working with this new wing of the Recording Academy to ensure that songwriters and composers are not taken advantage of any longer, but instead are treated with the respect they deserve. We are at your disposal to lend whatever assistance we can in your newly-organized efforts in the fight for the fair treatment of songwriters and composers.


Michelle Lewis
Executive Director
Songwriters of North America (SONA)

Susan Genco
Board Member
Music Artists Coalition (MAC)

Binta Brown
Willie “Prophet” Stiggers
Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC)

Tiffany Red
The 100 Percenter