The National Music Publishers’ Association has negotiated a far-reaching licensing deal with Universal Music Group on music videos, the group announced on Tuesday.
It is the first major-label deal to pay royalties to songwriters and music publishers for videos.
The pact also could end up providing additional royalties for songwriters and music publishers in emerging platforms like ringtones.
It comes as many musicians have grown more frustrated about the lack of financial compensation they receive for use of their work in new media services like Vevo and YouTube.
As a sign of how tense the relationship has become, last February in TheWrap, Matt Pincus, founder and CEO of Songs Music Publishing, slammed Vevo for earning $150 million in revenue without cutting independent publishers in on the money.
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"Are record companies to blame for relying on shoddy language to withhold royalties, or is it Vevo's responsibility to insure that the songwriters that helped it pull in $150 million this year share in their success?" Pincus wrote. "Whatever the case, this issue of fairness must be addressed."
Vevo is a joint venture music video website operated by Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Abu Dhabi Media, making Universal's participation key.
"The agreement announced today is an important first step in resolving industry-wide music video issues," David Israelite, NMPA president and CEO, said in a statement. "UMG deserves credit for being the first record label to partner with the entire songwriting and music publishing community through this model licensing deal.”
Under this license deal, music publishers will grant the rights necessary for the synchronization of their musical works with music videos, and, in return, receive royalties from these videos based on a percentage of Universal's receipts.
The agreement also enables songwriters and music publishers to receive retroactive compensation for past use of their musical works in UMG’s music videos. In addition to music videos, the agreement provides songwriters and music publishers compensation for additional UMG product offerings including ringtones, dual disc, multi-session audio and locked content products.