Sony Music has cancelled the debts of thousands of artists who signed to the record label before the year 2000.
It means that many will now, for the first time, earn money when their songs are streamed on services like Spotify and Amazon Music.
Sony said it could not name the eligible acts due to confidentiality agreements, but a source said it would "include household names".
It said some artists stood to receive "many thousands of dollars per year".
Why are recording artists in debt in the first place?
Musicians typically take on debt when they first sign to a record label. They are given a lump sum, known as an advance, to pay for recording studios, video shoots, distribution and other expenses. The money is then paid back when they sell their music.
However, many artists never earn enough to repay their advances, often because they get unfavourable royalty rates from their own record companies. Heritage black artists have been particularly affected.
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