Streaming's New Beat: The Rise and Debate of the 'Artist-Centric' Payment Model

Submitted by jon on Sun, 10/22/2023 - 09:01

The music industry is undergoing a transformative phase, sparked by Universal Music Group (UMG) and Deezer's introduction of a new "artist-centric" payment model. The announcement by Wagram Music, a prominent French independent music company, of adopting this model has further intensified discussions about its implications.

Support for the "Artist-Centric" Model:

  • Wagram Music: They see Deezer's model as a significant enhancement to the current streaming revenue system.
  • Deezer: Emphasizes that the new model will reward a spectrum of artists, from emerging talents to established stars.

Perspectives and Recommendations:

  1. Universal/Deezer's Initiative:

    • The initiation of this new payment structure could potentially overhaul the entire streaming payout system. While there are issues with the proposed model, if addressed, it could be groundbreaking.
    • This shift shouldn't be exclusive to one supplier and one Digital Service Provider (DSP). The data behind these decisions should be universally accessible for a more transparent and collective approach.
  2. Support for Lesser-known Artists:

    • The existing system, often criticized for its bias towards superstar artists, necessitates a change. Any solution, especially from industry giants, must undergo thorough scrutiny.
    • Darius Van Arman: The industry's top earners could subsidize newcomers. A taxation-like method could direct some profits from top streaming artists to emerging ones. DSPs could also levy a flat fee for every uploaded track, recognizing the associated costs. The challenge lies in defining thresholds and accessing the data for a proper evaluation.
    • Stephan Bourdoiseau: Stresses that DSPs are essentially music services and shouldn't dilute music subscription revenues with other audio functions. Anti-fraud measures and efforts against piracy will also channel more revenue to genuine artists. A sustainable streaming economy can emerge by increasing the overall revenue pool, made possible through regular price increments across all markets by all DSPs.
    • Emmanuel de Buretel: Avid music fans might be willing to pay more, a potential that indie labels can tap into daily. However, it's essential not to sideline artists who attract the most passionate listeners. Differentiating genuine streams from fraudulent ones is vital. Incorporating provisions like de-monetizing non-musical content and anti-fraud measures can further enhance the proposed Deezer model.

In summary, while the new "artist-centric" model initiated by UMG and Deezer is seen as a progressive step, it's essential to ensure a fair system that benefits both emerging and established artists. The broader music industry stakeholders have offered several suggestions to optimize this model, emphasizing transparency, fairness, and a focus on genuine music content.