As part of a larger initiative to bring broader support to its roster of artists, Sony Music Entertainment announced in an internal letter that it will be offering free counseling and therapy services to all its actively signed artists.
The new initiative, called the Artist Assistance program, is an expansion of Sony’s previously announced Artists Forward program, which the company unveiled in June alongside news that it would wipe away debts from a portion of its artists who haven’t recouped their initial cash advances from old record deals.
Artist Assistance will make free confidential counseling available to any Sony-signed artist around the world effective Thursday. It’s an add-on to health care policies Sony artists qualify for as a part of a major label; major label artists in America, for instance, qualify for insurance policies through major union SAG-AFTRA. Some artists may not be aware of the sorts of benefits they qualify for, and Artist Assistance is intended to bring more awareness and access to Sony’s roster.
Along with health resources, Sony also said that through Artist Assistance, it will devote more resources to answer questions regarding artists’ earnings and pay statements, though the letter did not specify what those resources are. Sony is also now developing a program to teach its newer artists more about how Sony Music functions and give them a guide on best practices to help them promote and their music.
Sony has hired industry veteran Susan Moultrie as Senior Vice President of Artist Initiatives and Business Administration to oversee the program. Moultrie is a longtime media and entertainment executive who previously spent over a decade at Sony Music in a variety of roles in the 1990s and 2000s.
The initiative comes as the broader music industry has been challenged in the past year to improve fairness and transparency as many Black artists and industry insiders questioned companies over decades of racial inequality. While new initiatives and further awareness have been applauded by artists and music industry advocacy groups, the larger push among critics has been for more artist-friendly record deals that give musicians a bigger piece of earnings and ownership for their work.
Read Sony’s letter to its artists below:
Dear Sony Music Partner,
Today Sony Music Entertainment is announcing an expansion of Artists Forward, our new initiative prioritizing comprehensive support for music creators in all aspects of their career development.
Building on our recently announced Legacy Unrecouped Balance Program, which pays through qualifying earnings to many of our long-standing artists and participants without regard to their recoupment status, we now are furthering our commitment to our active roster artists with a new program called Artist Assistance. This is a broad global effort aimed at promoting Wellness for our signed talent and providing them with relevant information and key resources for their careers.
Artist Assistance launches today starting with access to free, confidential counseling services to address stress, anxiety, depression, grief, family and relationship matters and more. Active roster artists around the world can connect with a dedicated, licensed therapist at no cost and use of the program is completely confidential. Artists can access these resources by emailing (EMAIL REDACTED) to arrange an initial consultation and determine support needs. (Further details are included.)
Plus, many artists signed in the U.S. are eligible to access qualifying health care and retirement services available through Sony Music’s affiliations with leading artist organizations, such as unions representing U.S. artists. For answers to questions about which organizations offer what benefits, and how to contact them, U.S. artists may email (EMAIL REDACTED). (Opportunities for similar offerings in other countries are also being evaluated.)
To enhance our level of service with Artists Forward, we have appointed music industry veteran Susan Moultrie as Senior Vice President of Artist Initiatives and Business Administration to serve as the main point of coordination for the program, working closely with our Sony Music labels and companies around the world. This new role will oversee the development and implementation of additional offerings that will further increase transparency and support for our artists.
For example, we are also developing a global program for newly signed artists to provide them with expanded information and resources about being a member of the Sony Music roster, as well as best practices to maximize the promotion and success of their releases. It will cover a variety of topics, including how Sony Music works with its artists to secure music placements with our digital partners, how to avoid pre-release leaks, and how to prevent last minute creative changes due to clearance issues, among others.
Additionally, we will further enhance our resources focused on answering artist and participant questions around earnings statements, payments, and how Sony Music’s Artist Portal and data analytics tools work.
Our new Artist Assistance Program is just part of our continuing mission with Artists Forward to provide our creative partners with the best levels of service. For more information, please speak to your local label representative, or visit artistsforward.sonymusic.com.
Sony Music Entertainment