SAG-AFTRA has announced a tentative three year agreement with major record labels on a successor contract to the SAG-AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Sound Recordings. The deal which was reached late Thursday after two days of talks in New Orleans, concluded negotiations that began in April.
“This contract achieves important gains for our members in key areas, especially and including our health and retirement plans. I’m proud of our dedicated negotiating committee, and especially its chair, National VP Recording Artists/Singers Dan Navarro, for their excellent work,” said President Gabrielle Carteris.
The new agreement is retroactive effective Jan. 1, 2018, and expires Dec. 31, 2020. The major record labels covered by the agreement include Warner Bros. Records, Atlantic Recording Corporation, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group Recordings, Capitol Records and Hollywood Records (Disney).
According to SAG-AFTRA, the deal includes increases for annual minimum wage, increased contributions to the health and retirement plans, and “significant” increases in contributions on payments related to online streaming of music.
The Sound Recordings Code, which originated in 1951 as the American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA) Phonograph Recording Code, covers session singers, royalty artists, announcers, actors, comedians, narrators and sound effects artists who work on recordings in all new and traditional media and all music formats, in addition to audiobooks, comedy albums and cast albums.
The Code generates more than $140 million annually in AFTRA-covered earnings and benefits for both major artists and session singers around the country. The tentative agreement will be presented to SAG-AFTRA’s National Board at its meeting this weekend, and if approved will be sent to members for ratification.
“A true partnership between our dedicated committee members – made up of professional singers and recording artists – and our hardworking staff has resulted in yet another groundbreaking deal making artists across the spectrum better off. Increased minimums, higher contributions and more money from streaming will benefit all our members,” said Dan Navarro.
“Streaming is the future of music and our negotiating committee has recognized that and made it a top priority for the last several cycles. That focus has shown results and will work to the benefit of our members for years to come. I’m particularly grateful to co-lead negotiator Stefanie Taub, whose expertise and knowledge has been essential to our success,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.