It’s a scary question — with a potentially horrifying answer.
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Streaming music has created an avalanche of royalty data, with billions of line items across millions of statements. Now, people are trying to figure out just how accurate those royalty statements are.
That includes a team in Austria, who are steadily figuring out a way to detect fraud and irregularities in statements issued to artists, songwriters, publishers, and labels.
Guenter Loibl and Nermina Momich are part of Rebeat Innovation, based outside of Vienna. They started investigating fraud, errors, and other accounting irregularities, and realized they were onto something big.
A really big industry problem, that is.
I asked Guenter: how big of a problem is this iceberg?
It’s a lot bigger than we all think, he told me.
But this isn’t just about intentional fraud. It’s more broadly about errors — intentional or otherwise — and how to both detect them and fix them (maybe even before they occur).
Then again: nobody really knows how big this problem is until millions of royalty statements have been audited. Nobody’s out checking this stuff. So it’s impossible to tell if the streams are counted correctly, the payments on those streams are accurate, or if the advertising is being split correctly.
You just have to trust it — at least for now.
I raised some hair-raising episodes involving streaming music platforms, including Spotify. But Guenter didn’t think that companies like Spotify or Apple are out cheating anyone. And streaming scams and heists are getting plugged.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t errors.
And what about everyone else: labels, publishers, ad networks, etc.? Unfortunately, there’s nobody out there checking this stuff, auditing statements for accuracy, or offering any level of accounting certification.
It’s still the Wild West — which means there’s a very serious problem to be solved. But after this interview, I started realizing that maybe this is all heading to a great place, where the technology that created this potential issue can also solve it.
Or at least audit it.
“I raised some hair-raising episodes involving streaming music platforms, including Spotify. But Guenter didn’t think that companies like Spotify or Apple are out cheating anyone. And streaming scams and heists are getting plugged.”
Are you kidding me Paul…?
The digital mediums are the greatest money laundering schemes since the inception of the Mafioso.
Artists living in the USA, produced and recorded in England, released in Australia, owned catalogue by Ole and Robert Ott, who sells to the Teachers Pendsion.??
I called you with the story, and your response was “are you taking Britney to court”? Here’s what has happened, 2 weeks ago we notified YouTube that I am the “Source Copy Owner” of my Copyright. The remix licensed by the CMRRA by Dave Aude – I’m a Slave 4 U has been pulled with 89 k of infractions. Now we are in line for a meeting at Parliament Hill to address the circumventing nature of the PRO’s CMO’s Mechanical Licensing and Performance Royalties. The story is hitting just a matter of who takes it first.
Very odd interview — fraud claim from non-music people never involved with royalties. Truly clueless. Every bit as irresponsible as actual fraud, perpetrated as this is by people who say they are building a business around this — one of many businesses they say they will start — but simply haven’t gotten around to it yet. Yikes! You put this in a podcast?
Günter Loibl is owner of Rebeat Digital, a digital music service provider that manages royalties for label worldwide.
Hey Sabine….they’re all tied into one another. I have a letter from then head of EMI publishing Bruce Scavuzzo pointing fingers at Eric Levine and ultimately ZOMBA / Robert John Mutt Lange as the individuals who commissioned the mix of my number one hit single “I’m A Slave 4 U”. As I’ve stayed the course in unearthing the truth, Bruce states that EMI Publishing “holds it’s rights and remedies in tact, but recognizes the immediate similarities between my track and the one released around the globe in 26 countries in 2005 -2008. Turns out that Robert Ott – owned the Publishing of Britney Spears from 2004 and after I found him and Ole, he bolted for the hills of Alberta and sold Principle Stock to the Ontario Teachers Pension. The reality and facts are that the remaining publishing houses of significance are making deals with the providers Bell Rogers Cogeco, and securing the a.i. they develop to find the Royalties owed. The balance of Royalties over looked are what the PRO’s scramble to possess and the rest are “orphaned and Absorbed”. The more I study our music industry the more I realize what a farce and a sham it is, and I dearly hope that those who manipulated it into their pockets get reminded of their behavioural truths.