Confirmed: Universal IS ignores non-refundable credits for heritage artists

In February, MBW told you that Universal Music Group plans to implement a policy that would require non-refundable credits for eligible catalog songwriters and artists not to be honored on their books.

We were told at the time by senior sources in the music industry that this policy would be publicly endorsed by UMG in the coming months.

Today (March 31) UMG did just that.

The policy was announced in UMG’s Environment Social Governance (ESG) report, which is included in its 2021 Annual Report published today.

In the report, which also highlights initiatives on artist welfare, climate change and diversity, equity and inclusion, among others, UMG says it will launch what it calls a “worldwide goodwill program for certain well-known recording artists and songwriters.”

The program provides that UMG will ignore non-refundable credits on advances for eligible artists.

In the report, UMG states, “UMG continues to build an industry-leading tradition of support programs for established artists and is proud to initiate a global goodwill program for select established recording artists and songwriters with non-refundable credits in 2022.

“By applying their unrefunded advances to royalty statements for a period beginning January 1, 2022, eligible creators and their immediate heirs who have not received payments since January 1, 2000 will, under certain conditions, receive royalties.”

UMG says it will be in touch with eligible artists and songwriters in the coming months.

Today’s news means that UMG has become the third major music company to initiate an unrecovery balance program for legacy acts.

Last summer, Sony Music Group announced that it would no longer apply existing non-refundable credits to earnings from eligible songwriters and artists who signed before the year 2000 and have not received advances since.

Also in February, Warner Music Group, the third-largest music rights company in the world, confirmed it was launching a “Legacy Uncovered Advances Program,” effective July business worldwide Confirmed: Universal IS ignores non-refundable credits for heritage artists

Fry Electronics Team

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