Spitzer tells Music Biz: Stop Robbing Artists

Whenever you hear any of the five big Labels mention how downloading is bad for artists, what they are really saying is downloading is bad for the Music Industry — not the artist.


“The world’s largest record labels will return $50 million in unpaid royalties to thousands of artists following a two-year probe by the New York State Attorney General’s Office, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said Tuesday.

While some popular artists such as David Bowie, Sean “P Diddy” Combs and Dolly Parton will benefit, the majority of the artists are not stars, but rather more obscure performers and one-hit wonders, Spitzer said.

“We have this misperception that artists have all gained enormous wealth by virtue of their success,” he said at a press conference. “But there are many artists who struggle, who have one successful song and they depend on those royalties. We have found that there has been an accumulation of royalty payments that were not distributed to the artists.”

Rolling Stone observed:

“As part of the deal, the labels and publishers also agreed to list the names of artists and writers who are owed monies, post the procedure to claim outstanding royalties in various music industry publications, share contact information for artists with other labels and work with various industry groups and unions to locate artists. The companies also pledged that their royalty and accounting departments would work towards improving their payment procedures and that they would abide by the state’s Abandoned Property Law. If an artist or his or her family cannot be located for payment, those royalties are to be paid to the state, which holds them until a claim is made.”

Reuters noted that “Label executives, for their part, say it was never their intention to withhold royalties. In many instances, artists simply failed to provide updated contact information where labels should send their checks.”

Perhaps thats the new defense downloaders should use: We wanted to pay the artists, but we just couldn’t find them.


Artists to get $50 mln in unpaid music royalties
Derek Caney
Reuters, 05.04.04, 3:06 PM ET


Bowie, DMB Rescue Royalties
Rolling Stone, May 4, 2004


Spitzer cuts music royalty deal
Crain Communications, Inc


Spitzer: Struggling Artists To Get Royalties
1010 WINS Radio, May 4, 2004 11:50 am US/Eastern


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