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"We value our relationships with our artists and we feel this is the best course to take to foster those relationships."
—--Bob Jamieson

BMG TO SHARE MP3.COM WEALTH

Label Group Pledges To Cut Artists In On Lawsuit Dough, Regardless Of Contracts
The spirit of the holiday barbecue lingers on, as big-label artists can look forward to a little extra coleslaw.

In contrast to previous reports, BMG says it will pay out portions of its $20 million settlement in the MP3.com copyright infringement suit to its "infringed-upon" artists regardless of contract stipulations.

According to Reuters, the music group—which had previously floated the idea of only compensating artists with clauses in their deals entitling them to such monies—has abandoned that stance, thus arriving at the same position formally adopted by the other majors.

The company says it will also provide funds to its publishing arm to compensate songwriters, though some observers have already questioned whether damages from the case pertain to compositions as well as sound recordings.

The terms of the split of settlement cash between company and artists—and how individual artists’ shares would be determined—have not been discussed publicly. But don’t worry, it’s all in the hands of the accounting department. In a related story, the FBI has said it would be glad to help keep track of the information.

The litigation was prompted by the netco’s creation of an unauthorized database of major-label music for its streaming My.MP3.com service. All of the majors have reached agreements with the online company. Vivendi Universal—parent of UMG, which scored a $53.4 million "judgment" in the case—announced on 5/20 it would purchase MP3.com.

"We value our relationships with our artists and we feel this is the best course to take to foster those relationships," BMG North America President/CEO Bob Jamieson told Reuters. "It is our plan to begin crediting our artists’ accounts just as soon as all of our recordings and artists have been identified. I’m also pleased to announce that every BMG artist will get an extra portion of oats to eat and fresh straw to sleep on."

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