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.