Musicians Fight Back Against Record Labels

With record labels continuing to dictate more and more of what musicians can and can’t do with their careers, a number of top pop and rock acts have joined the crusade to regain control over their music. Radiohead, Kate Nash and Robbie Williams are just some of the top British acts to have joined the new Featured Artists’ Coalition.

For decades now it has been the record labels and not the artists who get the say in how a band or musician is paid or how they should interact with their fans. But it seems that musicians are now saying “enough is enough” and already more than 60 acts have joined the Featured Artists’ Coalition as part of efforts to wrest back some of the control. The new coalition is designed mainly to protect the interests of musicians and performers and, with the support it is getting, it seems very likely that it will succeed. According to Brian Message, the co-manager of both Radiohead and Kate Nash, “it is time for artists to have a strong collective voice to stand up for their interests.” Message went on to say: “The digital landscape is changing fast and new deals are being struck all the time, but all too often without reference to the people who actually make the music. Just look at the recent MoU on file-sharing between labels, government and the ISPs. Artists were not involved. The Featured Artist’s Coalition will help all artists, young and old, well-known or not, drive overdue change through the industry in their interests and those of fans.”

Many people feel exactly the same and so the list of supporters behind the new coalition is growing fast. Other bands that have joined include the likes of Iron Maiden and The Verve. Initially the coalition will focus on six main items, namely fair compensation, copyright transfers, the monetizing of available rights on behalf of the performers, copyright control, a change to UK copyright law to end commercial exploitation of unlicensed music and the gaining of the same rights for musicians as those already in place for authors (songwriters, composers and lyricists). In the end the coalition will hopefully go a long way to exposing unfair practises in the industry and force music companies to consult with artists on all levels. The coalition will also provide artists with guidance in pursing their rights.