British music producer MJ Cole has penned a public plea to major labels and publishers urging an end to unpaid artist labor, specifically addressing UMG, Sony, Warner, and others. The letter, shared on social media on Sunday, April 21st, implores artists to refuse to work for free in the music industry. Cole emphasizes the fundamental mission of music creators to support artists in reaching their creative and commercial potential. The letter proposes a £75 non-recoupable per diem for all music creators collaborating with artists signed to major record companies or publishers. Cole highlights the necessity of fair compensation to ensure diversity and inclusion in music creation. You can read the full text of the letter below:

“An Open Letter to the Major Labels & Publishers Why Music Creators Must Call Time Out On Working For Free


As Music Creators, our core mission is simple: to help Artists attain their greatest creative and commercial potential. To achieve these goals, we employ our expertise and passion to create music, often in partnership with the Major Music Labels & Publishers around the world. Partners who, you would hope, take seriously their responsibilities to respect and fairly compensate us. These Major Music Labels & Publishers have garnered a huge world-wide reach in large part due to the music created by Music Creators. Whilst senior executives have stated that “we will always fight for our artists and songwriters and stand up for the creative and commercial value of music”, we find this to be far from the truth.


We have been working to address these issues in the form of a collective of Music Creators. As Creators from all backgrounds, we are having transparent and honest conversations about the state of the industry, and in the months since the collective’s inception, we are proud to be part of a rapidly growing community that includes many of the biggest names in the business. As a group we recognise our value and intend to fight to ensure that our rights and interests are protected now and far into the future.


With respect to the issues of compensation for Music Creators, our primary area of concern is the barrier to entry for young Writers and Producers. The fact of the matter is, we, the Music Creators are paying to develop artists on behalf of Major Music Corporations. These are costs that many, particularly those from lower income backgrounds, can not bear nor should they. If the status quo remains it is likely that we will lose the voice of the working class, potentially forever. We believe the Music Industry has a duty of care to protect these voices.


Ultimately Major Music Labels & Publishers are building a music-based business without paying fair value to the creators of that music. What is the solution? We request a £75 non-recoupable per diem for all Music Creators who are asked to work with or for any artist signed to a Major Record Company or Publisher. This modest per diem is not a luxury and will simply cover personal costs and ensure that creators can to some degree afford to develop artists on behalf of these Corporations. If, as recent reports claim,


Major Music Corporations collectively are generating over two million pounds an hour, then a thousand per diems a week would be covered in under three minutes. This should be the first step in adjusting the model as a whole, to reflect the music business in the 21st century.


The Corporations continue to bully us into accepting deals worth far less than fair market value, deals that are not reflective of the exponential financial growth of the industry. With a constant barrage of reports of vast profits and eye watering bonus payments to CEO’s, we are confident that the proposed fee of £75 per diem, which is below minimum wage, will be welcomed gracefully. Furthermore, to all executives, we hope you agree that this is a vital move towards a fairer industry. Let us not forget that the enormous value of the Music Industry lies not with the share holders, but with us, the creators who generate that value.


Finally to Universal, Sony and Warner, we say if you truly honour your responsibilities with the utmost seriousness, then now is the time to live up to them.”


Source: Instagram


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