Independent Manifesto

In January 2013, the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) launched it’s ten point Independent Manifesto.

The Manifesto sets out a clear view of the basic, unchanging beliefs and values which together bind the global independent music sector, as well as calling for action in areas that are particularly significant for independent music companies.

The manifesto recognises that independent businesses make a positive local economic and cultural contribution, which merits support from governments in areas such as access to finance and tax credits. It also calls for action in areas which are particularly significant for independent music companies. These include lobbying for equal market access and parity of terms for all music companies regardless of size or stature, pushing for transparency in the digital market and improving the independent sector’s representation within collecting societies.

Worldwide Independent Network – Manifesto
As revised April 2014

The points below represent the collective position of the global independent record company sector, put forward by the sector’s collective voice, WIN (Worldwide Independent Network).

All points are equal in stature, and are not numbered according to any form of ranking or significance.

  1. We, the independents, will work to grow the value of music and the music business. We want equal market access and parity of terms with Universal, Warner and Sony, and will work with them in areas where we have a common goal. We will work to ensure that all companies in our sector are best equipped to maximize the value of their rights.

  2. We support creators’ freedom to decide how their music may be used commercially, and we will encourage individual artists and labels to speak out directly against unauthorized uses of music as well as commercial uses of music that stifle that freedom. We support creators’ right to earn a living from their work, which should be respected as a basic human right. We expect any use of music by commercial third party operators to be subject to fairly negotiated licensing terms, in a market where any use of music is an end in itself, not so-called promotion driving a subsequent sale.

  3. We support independent music labels that treat their artists as partners and who work with them on reasonable commercial terms, noting that labels are investors who deserve a fair return alongside their artists.

  4. We promote transparency in the digital music market; artists and companies are entitled to clarity on commercial terms.

  5. We oppose further consolidation in the recorded music, publishing and radio sectors since this is bad for independent music companies, their artists and fans, as it reduces market access and consumer choice.

  6. We support initiatives which confront market abuse, and which aim to adapt competition laws to promote independent market access and foster collective responses by independents to potentially anti-competitive conduct by large operators.

  7. We recognize that all independent music businesses contribute to local culture, diversity, jobs and export opportunities, and multiply the economic success of related industries. We will ask governments to promote and support the independent music sector in securing access to finance and tax credits, and to local and international markets.

  8. We hold that collecting society revenues must be allocated and distributed accurately and transparently. This includes distribution of unclaimed money that logically belongs to the independents. We will push for the independent sector to be formally represented in the governance of collecting societies, with trade associations being eligible for board seats.

  9. We support the creation of a worldwide track-level sound recording rights database, subject to neutral governance and ownership, to ensure accurate distribution of rights revenues to their rightful owners.

  10. The independents will, as always, actively encourage and support new commercial opportunities for music, and will continue to support and develop new, legitimate business structures and partnerships.