Union Sues Universal, Sony, WMG, Others For Failing To Fund Musician’s Pensions
The American Federation of Musicians pension fund is suing Atlantic Records, Hollywood Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Brothers Records for failing to make pension fund contributions.
A lawsuit filed in New York today by The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) claims that all three major label groups have failed to make pension fund payments due from foreign audio streams and foreign and domestic ringbacks.
Named in the suit were Atlantic Records, Hollywood Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Brothers Records .
According to the AFM, these companies have had contracts for 75 years requiring a portion of sales revenue for musicians. Most was originally from record sales and later CDs. But in 1994, the AFM and the recording companies signed an agreement, subsequently renewed, requiring payment of 0.5% of all receipts from digital transmissions including audio streaming, non-permanent downloads and ringbacks.
Last year, independent auditors discovered that the record companies had not made the required revenue payments from foreign audio streams, ringbacks, and foreign non-permanent downloads., according to the union.
"The record companies should stop playing games about their streaming revenue and pay musicians and their pension fund every dime that is owed,” said Ray Hair, AFM International President. "Fairness and transparency are severely lacking in this business. We are changing that.”
The suit seeks payment for all missing revenue owed the AFM Pension Fund, late payment penalties, interest, damages and legal costs.