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Labels Cough Up For Health Insurance

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I’ll bet the recording industry wishes it could go back to the good old days when no one paid much attention to how they ran their business, and they could get away with just about anything. Funny how disputes that have been hanging around for as long as 40 and 50 years are getting resolved these days. That’s what happens when legislators, the courts, the press, and the public start snooping around, asking lots of annoying questions.

Now the major labels have agreed to improve health benefits for artists:

    The nation’s five major record labels agreed for the first time to provide health benefits for all artists on their rosters as part of a new union pact announced Tuesday.

    The deal is a breakthrough for working musicians, many of whom didn’t earn enough in album royalties to qualify for union health benefits under the old contract.

    ….The contract also boosts base wages for session performers by an average of 3% a year over the contract’s four-year term, and institutes new payments for session artists who appear on recordings that sell more than 157,000 units. The contract covers about 15,000 musicians.

    Representatives for AFTRA, which represents singers and other performers who sign with major labels, have been trying to reach an accord with the companies since May 2002. The talks opened months after a parade of rock stars, including Don Henley, Tom Petty and Courtney Love, publicly demanded better contracts and more access to health and pension benefits for performers.

    Under the industry’s previous pact, only artists who earned royalties of $10,000 a year qualified for benefits. But in the new agreement, companies would contribute payments to the AFTRA health plan to cover artists who don’t earn enough in royalties to qualify for benefits, so long as they remain on the label’s roster. [LA Times]

Perhaps the labels are also starting to realize that they need the artists on their side to have a prayer of winning the PR war against file sharing, etc.

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.
  • WHAT?!?! WHAT?!?!

    As a industry veteran, let me tell you that this is totally unheard of. And also fantastic.

    The only downside is the cost. I have a big problem in general with employers being the only vector through which most people can get health insurance. How will this play out for the smaller labels who can’t afford to follow suit?

  • Cool, I guess major-label musicians can now safely say they work for corporate America 😉 Large, beauracratic organizations, health benefits, lonh hours, and boards of directors who may or may not know jack squat about the product the sell.

  • Eric Olsen

    yep, pretty standard, most corporate drudges don’t ever see large lump payments, though.

  • frost@work

    neither do most musicians! HA!

  • Eric Olsen

    NO, but those who sign with a major at least get that first advance.

  • ugh, my spelling was awful.

    Hey, I work in coroprate America, but i wasn’t given an option for lump payments! I should turn in my cubicle for a record contract.

  • and the bad spelling continues…

  • California Health Insurance

    I think its great the record labels are offering health insurance to artists.