SAG-AFTRA Members Unanimously Ratify Major Label AI Protection Agreement Involving UMG, WMG, Sony Music, and Disney Music

SAG-AFTRA ratify AI protection major label
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SAG-AFTRA ratify AI protection major label
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Photo Credit: SAG-AFTRA

Members of SAG-AFTRA voted unanimously to ratify the 2024 Sound Recordings Code with the leading record labels, approving a new contract with groundbreaking AI protections and a compounded wage increase.

The national voting was completed on April 30, with members of SAG-AFTRA voting 97.69% in favor of ratifying the 2024 Sound Recordings Code with the major labels — Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Disney Music Group, and most of their subsidiary labels. The new contract covers the period from January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2026.

At the core of the new contract are the artificial intelligence guardrails, which take effect immediately. Under this agreement, the terms “artist,” “singer,” and “royalty artist” only include humans, with “clear and conspicuous consent” alongside minimum compensation requirements and specific details of intended use required prior to the release of a sound recording that uses a digital replication of an artist’s voice.

Other changes include increased minimums, with a compounded total wage increase of 26.3% over the term. Also, it includes health and retirement improvements like a general contribution rate increase and an increase in the percentage of streaming revenue to be covered by contributions, which will reach 100% at term’s end on December 31, 2026.

“Singers and recording artists have a profound impact on our culture, and I’m thrilled that they’ve achieved a contract that not only recognizes their value with significant wage increases, but also provides them essential protections around artificial intelligence,” said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher. “We celebrate our human performers! I applaud the negotiating committee and staff, the record label, and SAG-AFTRA members for getting this contract across the finish line.”

“This contract secures groundbreaking AI guardrails while also achieving crucial and substantial wage increases, and other key wins for singers and recording artists,” added SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director & Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.

“Protecting human artistry will always be SAG-AFTRA’s priority, and I’m heartened that our members have a contract that provides immediate gains and recognizes the importance of human contributions to the industry,” Crabtree-Ireland continued. “I also want to acknowledge Negotiating Committee Chair Dan Navarro and the entire committee and staff for their outstanding and dedicated work in achieving this agreement.”

Sound Recordings Code Negotiating Committee Chair Dan Navarro concluded: “Members’ feedback played a key role in the formation of this contract and the negotiating committee prioritized the concerns that were most crucial to the singers and recording artists impacted by these terms. We’re proud to have achieved these essential wins in AI protections, along with substantial wage increases and gains in health and retirement funding.”