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BMG to speed up payments to songwriters on old contracts

By | Published on Friday 30 April 2021


BMG has announced a move to speed up royalty payments for the songwriters whose music it controls or represents. The new policy basically means that it will apply the payment terms that appear in most of its new writer contracts to all the songs in its catalogue.

Explaining the change, the music rights firm says that it means all writers will now be paid “within 60 days of the close of a royalty period”, even if their contract says 90 days, meaning they get their money a month earlier.

Most of the contracts that currently say 90 days relate to catalogues that the current iteration of BMG acquired in the years following its launch in 2008, including the Chrysalis and Cherry Lane song catalogues.

Although affected writers will only see their money one month earlier under the new system, the change is part of a wider scheme at BMG to bring old record and publishing contracts in line with modern conventions, voluntarily removing or amending terms that were pretty standard in the 20th Century, but which seem unfair by modern deal standards.

The company’s CIO Sebastian Hentzschel says: “With 60 day terms the new standard in music publishing, we are delighted to extend them to our acquired catalogues. This service update reaffirms BMG’s commitment to deliver 21st Century levels of fairness, transparency and service to songwriters and artists whenever they signed their deals”.

Meanwhile, CEO Hartwig Masuch adds: “Contracts define minimum terms in the relationship between music companies and their clients, but too often they become frozen in time, creating generations of disadvantaged musicians. Paying our clients faster forms part of our broader program to make the music industry work better for artists and songwriters”.