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AFTRA Reaches Tentative Agreement with
Record Labels on Sound Recordings Contract

LOS ANGELES (February 7, 2008) – The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists announced today that it has reached a tentative agreement with the recording industry on the AFTRA Sound Recordings Code. The national contract has covered royalty artists and session singers who work with the more than 1,200 recording companies, including the four major labels—EMI, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner—and most of their subsidiary labels. In addition to popular music in all genres, the Sound Recordings Code has covered classical recordings, Broadway cast albums, Latin recordings, and spoken word recordings, including audio books.

“As we come together at the GRAMMY Awards this Sunday to celebrate the accomplishments of performers, this new agreement for the Sound Recordings Code highlights the importance of AFTRA members working together to win better contracts throughout the entertainment and media industry,” said Roberta Reardon, president of the national union of more than more 70,000 performers, journalists, broadcasters, recording artists, and other talent working in the entertainment and news media. 

“The tentative agreement is a great step forward for AFTRA recording artists and singers as it provides increased compensation and benefits for recordings in both physical and digital formats,” said Reardon.

The tentative agreement was reached late Wednesday afternoon when AFTRA and the recording labels hammered out a compensation formula for digital downloads.

“This is a breakthrough agreement for AFTRA members,” said Randall Himes, AFTRA Assistant National Executive Director for Sound Recordings and co-lead negotiator for AFTRA. “The members of the AFTRA negotiating committee—session and royalty singers, rap artists, and other performers across all fields of recorded music from pop and hip-hop to Latin and country—worked diligently to achieve this contract for their fellow AFTRA members. The challenge of negotiating while the industry is confronting both a digital transition and rampant piracy underscores the remarkable work of the committee members in keeping their focus.”

Highlights of the agreement include wage increases for session performers, improvements in health and pension coverage for royalty artists, and a new formula for compensation on digital downloads. Complete details of the tentative agreement will not be released until the terms are presented to the AFTRA National Board's Administrative Committee for its approval prior to membership ratification. 


The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, is a national labor union of over 70,000 actors, singers and recording artists, dancers, announcers and other broadcast talent performers, journalists, and other artists working in the entertainment and news media. With local chapters across the country, AFTRA promotes the success and welfare of members in a variety of ways, including contract negotiation and enforcement, advocating on legislative and public policy issues, supporting equal employment opportunities, and sponsoring or supporting health and retirement benefits and programs. For more information, visit