Music Managers Band Together to Demand Better Streaming Royalties — “It Must Happen Now”

music streaming
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music streaming
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Photo Credit: NeONBRAND

A music manager coalition is demanding a number of changes to streaming royalties paid to artists – or the lack thereof.

The European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA), an Estonia-based music manager coalition with over 1,400 worldwide members to its credit, recently unveiled the demands in a formal release. This multipage message begins by reiterating the increasingly important role that streaming is playing with concerts on hold due to COVID, as well as the $1 million per hour that it generates for the Big Three record labels.

“This should be a cause for celebration,” the music manager coalition states, though “the fact that streaming services are still licensed on the basis of the world as it was ten years ago – not the world as it is now – means too little of that $1m per hour is reaching those who create and perform the music that we love.”

While this overarching problem and its underlying causes required fixing prior to the pandemic, the ongoing economic difficulties facing musicians mean that “the need for change has become critical,” EMMA writes. “It must happen now.”

The organization, whose member managers represent “thousands” of European songwriters, musicians, producers, and DJs, then pinpoints four areas that it believes need action presently.

The first, “a new contract between artists and major music corporations,” encompasses several modifications to existing artist-label agreements, including an end to “practices whereby three major labels receive substantial, upfront and unattributable payments as part of their licensing agreements.”

Next, EMMA takes aim at “black box” royalties, claiming that the multibillion dollar tranche’s funds typically belong to the lowest-paid songwriters, but are often “reallocated by market share to the highest-earning” songwriters. “New incentives” must be rolled out to compel PROs to detail the exact amount of unpaid royalties that they possess and to lower the number of “unidentified and non-matching payments” via a “globally unified account system” used by all PROs.

Third, the music manager coalition expresses support for “new payment models for streaming.” These models would focus chiefly on a user-centric payment structure designed to “counter stream manipulation and fraud” by distributing royalties directly to individual creators, based upon fan interest as opposed to a share of total streams.

EMMA’s fourth and final suggestion concerns a coordinated, European Union-wide reopening effort for the “music and cultural industries” post-pandemic.

Towards the beginning of its release, EMMA notes that it is joining the “growing chorus for reform” in the streaming-royalties space. Building upon the point, the British government launched an investigation last month to determine “whether the business models used by major streaming platforms are fair to the writers and performers who provide the material.”

8 Responses

  1. haha

    These managers are never getting money. They want the money. It makes sense they should get the money…..but if they think there will ever get the money get behind eminem with 2 billion owed and willie nelson untold millions owed to him

  2. Prince Rupert

    Live music is better bumper stickers should be issued.

  3. Mark Meikle

    We are working on it right now. Coming in 2021, Giddy will pay artists double what they currently earn. They’ll make a penny per stream or more.

  4. Roberto

    Twenty years since Napster and twenty years of almost NO MONEY going to hard working musicians. Pitiful ‘Advertising revenues’ going to the Record companies and next to nothing filters through to the people who actually make the music. 99.9% failure rate is not a business anybody should waste their time with in 2020! But suddenly every Tom, Dick and Harry is a ‘musician’ but there is a difference between a Professional and an Amateur musician. A HUGE difference!

    • Roy L. Teetheft

      But, hey, all those millions in advance money from dot coms went to artists, right?

  5. Ruell Bankasingh

    it seems they want to change the market to benefit themselves. they obviously are manipulating the industry to promote mainly their clients that are label 1 percents. they don’t care about the rest of the artist that have poured their all into their music. this is the kind of people that ruin life itself, selfish abusers that most likely to do anything to get what they want, it needs to be structure to benefit the majority which is the lower level artist, they need to receive a huge increase in pay per stream rate along with the rest, so increasing the per stream rate to a minimum of 0.025 most people try do anything to fuel their race to out do the rest, their willing to step on others to get their. that’s the problem with the world it right now. they quicker they are all eliminated the better society will be. Straight facts.

  6. Blobbo

    The only solution to all of this is a new not-for=profit streaming platform for UNSIGNED, UNAFFILIATED Music Acts. There will be an annual fee taken from streaming royalties that covers the creation and running of the streaming platform.

    I, personally, think the $9 all you can listen is a preposterous platform. It would be better micropayment per play on a gift card style model. There’s really zero reason at this point to have labels in the mix, unless someone gains some traction online, like many have already done on Youtube, and they decide to sign.

    However, the independents can have their own trajectory, at a rate they can still make a middle class living at while only being semi-famous. However, the structure for payment of the thousands of independents on Spotify and Apple are just ridiculous. There’s no accountability, no tracking, limited chances to climb through a rigged playlist system, which is essentially large label payola.

    Consumers will seek out an indie streaming site like they go to Bandcamp. The current system is an atrocity. Yes, old acts need help too, getting released from worthless contracts and moving to this platform if they want as well, getting at least the respect they deserve. NO MORE POOLING OF LOW TIER ROYALTIES! THIS MEANS F U SPOTIFY!

    • BAC

      Blobbo – “I, personally, think the $9 all you can listen is a preposterous platform. It would be better micropayment per play on a gift card style model. ”

      GIFT CARDS? You’re a fucking moron.