Defected Records' new royalty rate is all but defective.
Shortly after Defected announced Wez Saunders as the company's new CEO, it's making moves that aim to set a new royalty rate standard for artists and music producers around the world.
Saunders has set the tone for the industry with Defected's minimum 30% royalty rate for any recording artist and producer signed to the label, Music Week reports. A majority of the label's roster is already locked into the rate and Defected will also provide quarterly royalty reports to all of its producers, artists and songwriters in an effort to add transparency.
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In addition to the heightened royalty rate, Defected has reportedly written off un-recouped royalties dating back to pre-2012. This means that artists who were signed prior to 2012 and issued an advance—but never made enough money to pay it back—now do not have a balance with the label. The move is said to have been made to alleviate the monetary pressures that musicians have endured since COVID-19 shook up the live performance industry.
The new royalty rate positions Saunders as an artists-first leader and could serve as a harbinger of how labels compensate artists and writers.
"Defected's mission is to service our community while helping artists build longer lasting, more impactful and more profitable careers," Saunders said. "These changes are a natural progression with artists in mind, one that ensures we continue to think about the future of the music industry, with artist benefits at the forefront of our commercial strategies."