HomeInsightsMusic Managers Forum (MMF) calls for more transparency and clarity around music industry streaming deals and the flow of royalties from streaming services to artists.


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In its Dissecting the Digital Dollar Part Two report, published on 6 October, the trade body said the industry should work together to address the “single biggest issue” affecting the current streaming market.

PRS for Music’s M-Magazine reports that, following a series of debates with over 200 individuals and organisations working across the music business in the UK, US, Canada and France, they found many unanswered questions about how deals are done between digital services and labels and publishers, particularly among artists and their managers.

They said they need access to this information to be able to properly audit the royalty payments they receive from labels and publishers, to identify which streaming services best serve their interests and which labels, publishers and distributors they should seek to work with in the digital space.

Chris Cooke, co-founder of CMU Insights and author of the report, said in a press conference: “The single issue for managers in the room was the whole lack of transparency around the whole streaming ecosystem.  That includes the specifics of the deals being done… how the deals between the paid-for and free streaming services compare, and how the deals between the different service providers, labels, distributors and [collecting] societies compare”.

As a consequence of the report’s findings, the MMF is working with its members to compile a list of the specific areas where clarity is lacking, such as royalty deductions and discounts, the sharing of unallocated advances and how each streaming service calculates payments to all the different rights holders involved.

The organisation also said it will work with the wider industry to overcome issues that are hindering transparency, such as non-disclosure agreements in the streaming services’ contracts.

Also in the report, the trade body outlines issues it identified around the division of revenue in the streaming market, performers’ equitable remuneration, sharing the value of digital deals, the role of collecting societies, the quality of copyright data and safe harbour legislation.  For further information as reported by PRS for Music’s M-Magazine, and for a link to the report, click here.