Breakthrough for indie labels as Secretly Group Union sign contract with management

Members of the Secretly Group Union have secured a contract with the company for its employees.

The union – which represents staff at indie labels such as Secretly Canadian, Dead Oceans and Jagjaguwar – shared the news yesterday (October 12).

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In a statement on social media, the SGU wrote: “We are ecstatic to announce that contract negotiations have concluded and our membership has voted to ratify the contract!


“This was a long and very difficult fight, but we could not be prouder to be the first independent label group union.”

The message continued: “We hope this is a beacon to other labels and other people struggling to work in music. Our vote was a contentious decision, and we already know what we’re going back for when it’s time to go back to the table.

“The fight never ends with a first contract – we’re excited to engage with the energy that this contract brings at Secretly and in our industry at large to continue advocating for our workers and everyone in the music industry.”

Dead Oceans – whose roster boasts the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, Bright Eyes and Khruangbin – subsequently expressed its gratitude to the union in a thread of posts on Twitter.


“This agreement marks a new chapter in Secretly’s ongoing commitment to our staff, to our workplace, and to the core values we bring to artist and label partners every day,” it began.

“A note of heartfelt thanks is in order: to everyone involved in reaching today’s agreement, to the depth of trust and respect that colleagues placed in one another and in this process, and to the effort and work put in to reach this milestone. Thank you all.”

The statement added: “The work of building a business that embodies our values is, and must be, an ongoing process. We are proud to be partnered with Secretly Group Union to that end.

“Together we will continue to support great art and artists and positively impact culture from a strong and supportive workplace.”

Secretly Canadian – home to Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Porridge Radio, Stella Donnelly among others – shared the same message on its Twitter feed.

Phoebe Bridgers. Credit: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images
Phoebe Bridgers. CREDIT: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

The Secretly employees formed their union last year, assisted by the Office and Professional Employees International Union. It set a recognition deadline for management, which the company soon agreed to.

In a statement issued to Billboard in March 2021, a Secretly Group Union representative said: “The enthusiasm for the culture in which music industry workers contribute can be weaponised against them and lead to exploitation and unfair treatment. We absolutely hope this inspires others to unionise.”

Secretly Group, which employs 150 people overall, responded: “It’s always difficult to hear that there are people within the company who are unhappy… but we hope that this union effort speaks to their belief that our common ground – love for the work we do, and for the music and culture we share with the world – is truly and deeply shared.”