Eminem’s years-long battle against his parent label, Universal, came to end last week, when a circuit court denied Universal’s attempt at an appeal, finding that iTunes sales royalties should be considered a license, thusly guaranteeing artists a bigger cut of iTunes sales. Basically, the judge had to consider whether or not iTunes sales royalties should be under the same payout rate for CD sales–which isn’t a lot, since labels take a cut for actually manufacturing the CD–or the rate for licensing–like giving a song to a movie trailer, game, etc.. Being that labels essentially just drag and drop files into iTunes’ servers, the judge ruled they should not get such a huge piece of royalties from digital sales.
This is probably good news for a lot of artists, and reportedly, many labels are writing in clauses in new contracts to prevent artists from going for more digital sales payouts and trying to preserve their cut. But in back catalog matters, the already fragile labels could be due to pay their artists a bunch of royalties. [TechDirt]