Sony Music CEO Says Streaming Services are ‘Watered Down By Low Quality and Meaningless Volume’

Sony Music CEO quality DSP problems

Photo Credit: Andrik Langfield

Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer says streaming services have a meaningless volume problem, promoting what he calls low-quality content alongside big-name artists like Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, Harry Styles, and SZA.

“We have to look after the premium quality artists at the top of our business,” Stringer told investors during a presentation of Sony Corp’s ‘Business Segment Meeting‘ for its music business. Stringer says the company is calling on DSPs to add tighter regulations to their platforms to help filter out ‘poor quality content’ and streaming fraud. Stringer also suggests moving to a new payment model to disincentivize fraud and bottom-of-the-barrel content. 

“At Sony Music, our attention is always on identifying quality—and not purely quantity—as we face competition from many investors and new companies wishing to capitalize on sheer volume,” Stringer said during the presentation. “We are convinced that consumers want the same quality and remain concerned that DSPs are watered down by low quality and meaningless volume, which negatively impacts music fans and real artists.”

“In addition, as publicly reported, fraud on key DSPs is a problem that must be eliminated through aggressive enforcement by these DSPs and distributors or by changing payout methods to better reduce the incentive for fraud,” Stringer concludes. 

Part of the problem is how easy generative AI can be used to create music mash-ups that ‘sound’ like they could be official releases. That’s because these AI models have been trained on an artists’ voice—usually without their permission. Stringer says Sony Music is doing everything it can to protect its artists as this nascent technology begins to take off. 

“We are now at the gateway of a brand-new technological era with artificial intelligence,” Stringer says. “And unsurprisingly, music will be a core component of this process. AI promises to provide us tools so that our artists and writers can better create and innovate. But it also heralds greater levels of insight through machine learning, as well as potential new licensing channels and avenues for commercial exploitation.”

“Certainly there is a lot of opportunity in this area to be excited about throughout [Sony Music]. Though we are greatly aware of the challenges that lie ahead, too. We will protect our creators on every level possible, whether it be creative, financial, or legal. Infringement and unauthorized usage of their rights should be the basis for a unique, new set of artist and songwriter protections industry-wide. Tech does not simply overrule art.”