BMG Promises to Review Every Black Artist Contract to Fix ‘Music Industry’s Record of Shameful Treatment’

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BMG is reviewing “all historic record contracts” in an effort to identify and address any inequities and anomalies in agreements with black artists.

BMG officials announced the comprehensive review – and a series of other racial-justice initiatives – in a formal release, which was shared with Digital Music News this morning.

The far-reaching plan comes ten days after BMG, along with fellow music industry companies and a multitude of artists, participated in Black Out Tuesday. However, the publisher, label, and licensor indicated that it intends to build upon the movement: “We are determined that last week’s action is more than a black square in a social media post or a series of slogans.”

After reiterating that it was formed in 2008 (and didn’t play a part in negotiating older record contracts), BMG emphasized that it is “mindful of the music industry’s record of shameful treatment of black artists.” And because it has acquired many older catalogs, which may have resulted from inequitable contracts, the brand nevertheless feels obligated to examine their details.

Additionally, the company signaled that it will review and address its internal diversity – “at BMG the reality is that black people are not as well represented as they are in the populations in which we operate” – and direct each of its offices, located in 12 different countries, to craft plans to reduce the prevalence of racism and social injustice in their respective areas.

At its close, the message stated: “The real test for us all is now to come up with a credible plan for change.”

Significantly, BMG also noted that the contract review, the internal diversity analysis, and the office-specific plans targeting racism and social injustice will be completed within 30 days.

Yesterday, we were first to report that both YouTube and Apple had established $100 million funds to aid black individuals and other minority communities. And last week, the Big Three record labels created social justice funds of their own, with Universal Music Group pledging $25 million and Warner Music Group and Sony Music Group committing $100 million apiece.

5 Responses

  1. Angelito

    Review them then put them back in the file cabinet. Nobody forced these artists to sign the contracts, and the label advances attorney’s fees so the artist has legal counsel explain the contract before they sign.

    Is anybody else sick of this pious virtue-signaling nonsense? ALL LIVES MATTER.

  2. one

    are they going to review all contracts? is the implication that black artists got ripped off worse than other artists? for decades we’ve heard story after story of how notoriously bad contracts were for artists (a friend, the first drummer for the band, told me about how bad Rush’s contract was for a very very long time). will they compare a michael jackson with a justin timberlake? will it be first contracts, or 2nd or third?

    seems like lip service, or PR spin, or even a way to not look at all contracts

  3. Bill

    Geronimo, Angelito, Al Jolson and whatever other names you use:
    You’re a sad, little person whose comments are consistently revealing about your weak character. You’re not worth anyone’s time. Enjoy chatting with your other online names. Bye, loser.