LET’S REFORM STREAMING WITHOUT A TWO-TIER SYSTEM (Billboard op-ed)
Brussels, 25th September 2023
Deezer’s “artist-centric” idea adds to the streaming debate but other proposals could move the needle without thresholds that are bad for smaller acts – and musical diversity.
Read IMPALA’s Helen Smith op-ed on Billboard here.
Deezer and UMG announced a proposal to reallocate streaming revenues through an “artist-centric” model. The proposal adds to the streaming debate, but clarity is needed, in particular when it comes to the proposed thresholds for boosting artist royalties based on stream counts. Questions remain about the specifics, such as how many artists would benefit and the stability of the model, which could result in the creation of a two-tier system negatively impacting smaller artists and markets.
In contrast, IMPALA ten-point plan to make the most of streaming advocates for a progressive redistribution of revenues that would benefit emerging artists and maintain musical diversity. The Artist Growth model for example, put forward in our plan and initially developed by AIM in the UK, suggests that the top-tier streams generate slightly less revenue, while the bottom-tier streams generate slightly more, aiming to support emerging and niche artists.
Deezer’s efforts to better recognise active listening align with our Active Engagement model. We ask if Deezer could take the leap and explore other models from IMPALA’s streaming plan like “Fan Participation”, which goes further by encouraging artist-fan interactions, as well as “Pro-rata Temporis”, which aims at making sure long form content is also recognised.
We also acknowledge Deezer’s efforts to address streaming manipulation and “noise” content, but caution against the possibility that their proposal for a cap for individual accounts could devalue superfan streams.
In any case, market reform cannot be imposed by the market leader. There is a need for extensive discussion and debate, and we invite everyone to IMPALA’s plan and share their perspectives.
IMPALA was established in 2000 and now represents nearly 6000 independent music companies. 99% of Europe’s music companies are small, micro and medium businesses and self-releasing artists. Known as the independents, they are world leaders in terms of innovation and discovering new music and artists – they produce more than 80% of all new releases and account for 80% of the sector’s jobs. IMPALA’s mission is to grow the independent music sector sustainably, return more value to artists, promote diversity and entrepreneurship, improve political access, inspire change, and increase access to finance. IMPALA works on a range of key issues for its members, runs various award schemes and has a programme aimed at businesses who want to develop a strategic relationship with the independent sector – Friends of IMPALA.
IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association
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