Apr 10, 2024 3 min read

WIN renews shared values of the independent music community

The World Independent Network has updated its Global Independent Values. First published in 2012, these are the ten key principles shared by the international trade body’s members. They have been renewed following a period of consultation with music organisations globally

WIN renews shared values of the independent music community

The World Independent Network - which brings together organisations representing independent music companies around the world - has updated its ten core principles, setting out demands, ambitions and objectives for stakeholders across the music industry, as well as for governments and lawmakers. 

Ensuring “full market access and the best terms available” for all independent music businesses is a key priority, alongside calls for strong copyright protection, effective collective licensing, fair deals between labels and artists, and ongoing work to facilitate a diverse and sustainable sector.   

First published in 2012, the Global Independent Values have been renewed following consultation with the organisation's member trade bodies from around the world and the independent music companies they represent. 

“Grounded in principles of fairness, transparency and innovation, these values underscore WIN’s unwavering commitment to upholding what it means to be independent and what we defend as a sector”, says WIN CEO Noemí Planas. “Through cooperation and unity, we are ready to overcome the challenges and seize the many opportunities that lie ahead”.

Previously known as the Global Independent Standard, several of the stated values remain the same, although a number have been removed or consolidated, while there are new additions too. 

Among the changes, pledges to provide and call for transparency in different areas of the industry now make up one single point on the list. Support for the “creation of a worldwide track-level sound recording rights database” has also been removed. This makes way for stronger pledges on ethics, diversity and sustainability. 

WIN’s Chair Zena White says, "Our sector is diverse and dynamic in how it does business, yet connected by its purposeful investment in music. WIN's Global Independent Values are the standards that unite our members, which they hold themselves to whilst working together for a stronger, more level playing field”.

The full updated Global Independent Values are as follows:

  1. We, the independents, work to grow the value of music and the music business. Independent music businesses should have full market access and the best terms available. An independent copyright should be valued and remunerated at the highest level. We work to ensure that all businesses in our sector are best equipped to maximise the value of their rights.
  2. We support creators’ freedom to decide how their music is used and their right to earn a living from their work, which should be respected as a basic human right. We encourage artists and independent music businesses to speak out directly against any uses of music that stifle that freedom. We expect all uses of music to be subject to authorisation and fairly negotiated licensing terms. 
  3. We support independent music businesses who treat the artists they work with as key partners and engage with them on fair commercial terms, noting that those businesses are investors who deserve a fair financial return alongside artists. We welcome choice and the variety of business models made available to artists by independent music businesses.
  4. We promote transparency and fairness across the music market, including the digital landscape. All parties are entitled to clarity on commercial terms. We work to promote responsible and fair business models that provide a dynamic and compelling future for artists, businesses and fans.
  5. We support initiatives which confront market abuse and oppose over-consolidation in any part of the broader music ecosystem where it reduces market access and consumer choice. We work to promote market access and foster collective responses by independents to potentially anti-competitive conduct.
  6. We recognise that all independent music businesses contribute to local culture, diversity, jobs and export opportunities, and multiply the economic success of related industries. We call on governments to promote and support the independent music sector. Access to finance and to local and international markets, tax incentives, and policies which encourage investment in music should be prioritised.
  7. We champion the full adoption and protection of the rights conferred on the owners of sound recordings by international treaties in all territories. We promote initiatives to increase the transparency, democracy and efficiency of collecting societies, so that revenues are allocated and distributed accurately to their rightful owners.
  8. We actively encourage and promote innovation and new commercial opportunities for music. We support the development of new, legitimate technologies, business structures and partnerships, and advocate for best practices within our industry. 
  9. We promote equity, diversity, inclusion and sustainability in the music sector. We encourage best practices, local developments and projects regarding diversity and inclusion as well as those which promote individual and collective action to address the climate and environmental emergency.
  10. The independents work together to build a strong, ethical and united ecosystem, fostering knowledge-sharing, international exchange and cooperation, and creating opportunities for all independent music businesses and their representative bodies around the world.
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