Release Certification

Fair Trade Music Release Certification

The Fair Trade Music certification program is one of the main tools we use in helping to bring about an equitable music ecosystem that treats everybody in the music value chain fairly. This program certifies individual music releases to provide consumers with the information they need to make better choices when streaming or purchasing music.

In order to achieve this, Fair Trade Music International formed a working group in 2016 to define a set of certification criterion for ethical behavior. This group included recording artists, songwriters, composers, copyright and entertainment attorneys, music publishers, record labels and music accountants, among others.

Fair Trade Music Certification Seal

Release Criteria

An applicant wishing to certify an individual release with Fair Trade Music should exemplify the following ethical business practices:

A record label or similar entity releasing an FTM certified release (“Applicant”) will regularly disclose through full, complete, and comprehensive accounting statements, any and all forms and levels of gross and net revenue and remuneration relating to the Certified Release, to the music creators and rights holders downstream of that revenue and remuneration. These criteria apply whether or not the Certified Release is in a recouped position.

This disclosure would include, but not be limited to the following:

  1. physical distributions and sales, and related revenue and remuneration;
  2. music service subscription, streaming and download revenue and remuneration;
  3. any other revenue and remuneration derived from the exploitation of the Certified Release;
  4. advertising revenues and remuneration related to music access; and
  5. music-related data mining revenue and remuneration.

“If the revenues don’t flow back to the creators, while the shareholders and CEOs of companies who deny the value of music enjoy literally billions in profits, something is terribly wrong.”

The First Fair Trade Music Certified Release

In July 2016, the new album by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes “PersonA” became the world’s first release to carry the “Fair Trade Music” certification.

The band’s label Community Music, chose to split the profits from all album sales equally between itself and the artist; a decision which has entitled the release to carry the Fair Trade Music seal.