Music Streaming Study Explores the Unexpected Impact of Reform

Music Streaming Study Explores the Unexpected Impact of Reform
Kettwig, Essen, Germany. Photograph Credit score: Heinz Albers

Amid continued discussions about user-centric streaming payouts – and the rising prevalence of synthetic intelligence – a brand new deep-dive examine is exploring the complicated potential results of a pivot away from the pro-rata mannequin.

Essen-headquartered Professional Musik, a self-described indie-musician affiliation, revealed the 63-page report, entitled “Fee Choice Transparency,” in German in addition to English. For background, main music streaming providers like Spotify and Apple Music pay royalties beneath the talked about pro-rata mannequin.

Critics say that this mannequin – by means of which income (much less charges) is distributed as a portion of complete streams – is detrimental to acts with out tens of millions upon tens of millions of listeners to their credit score. And as a possible resolution, some are touting the user-centric mannequin, which compensates creators primarily based upon their share of every fan’s on-platform listening time.

For instance, a streaming service person who spends 70 p.c of his or her listening time having fun with the work of 1 act would then see 70 p.c (much less charges, as soon as once more) of the month-to-month promoting or subscription income at hand attain the concerned artist beneath the user-centric variation.

SoundCloud has for years been using the user-centric mannequin (billed as “Fan Powered Royalties”), which Warner Music Group adopted in a licensing deal final yr. Spotify has addressed the potential of transitioning to the mannequin, and given the above-described introduction of AI (and an adjoining tidal wave of generated tracks), Common Music Group has since 2023’s begin been discussing streaming-compensation reform with gamers together with SoundCloud.

Transferring previous this overview and returning to the examine, Professional Musik discovered that “the general affect” of implementing the user-centric mannequin “could be important” – and never solely as a result of income could be shifted from a portion of well-known acts. 

As a part of the examine, Berlin-headquartered SoundCloud “supplied actual market information relating to person conduct on its platform,” in line with the useful resource, referring particularly to “50,300 artist profiles” – not essentially correct artists – enrolled within the Fan-Powered program.

Professional Musik indicated that mentioned market information had derived from round 1.5 million people’ consumption habits between Might and October of 2022. Regardless of factoring for main markets together with the UK and Germany, organizers (who carried out primary calculations to estimate pro-rata income) didn’t account for stateside stats or person information from Japan.

In 16 out of 18 international locations analyzed, greater than 1 / 4 of the overall income pie may very well be redistributed – with the typical for prime international locations at 25.4%,” wrote two-year-old Professional Musik, which additionally emphasised that it “is not going to suggest or advocate for or in opposition to” the user-centric mannequin. “The common throughout all international locations is even greater at 32.6%.”

In fact, this described royalties recalibration would successfully draw income away from sure acts and ahead it to others – a degree that the group illustrated in a visible useful resource.

pro musik music streaming study In keeping with Professional Musik’s music streaming payout examine, shifting to a user-centric compensation mannequin would have a “important” impact on a wide range of artists’ earnings. Photograph Credit score: Professional Musik

By way of the examine’s largest common proportion of redistributed streaming income by nation, France’s fee hovered across the 30 p.c mark – in comparison with roughly 20 p.c for the UK on the low finish, which evened out the figures and contributed to the beforehand famous 25.4 p.c common.

Increasing upon the factors, Professional Musik discovered that 41.5 p.c of artist profiles within the examine’s “prime international locations” had benefited (with elevated royalties) from the change to user-centric. Per the report’s authors, three simple components – “relative person attain,” “person dedication,” and “common person spend” – when plugged into calculations can decide with 97 p.c accuracy whether or not an artist would achieve from the mannequin.

Demonstrating the importance of all three listed components (and among the user-centric mannequin’s seldom-discussed attainable byproducts), Professional Musik disclosed that a lot of “mid-sized artists by way of streams” had seen their funds decline whereas others – with practically the identical play totals for October of 2022 – had loved a income increase.

“Nevertheless, the conclusion that UCPS [user-centric payment system] – like another various cost mannequin – would produce winners and losers is no surprise,” Professional Musik wrote in direction of the useful resource’s finish. “As a substitute, it results in a query that’s doubtlessly on the core of assessing UCPS: If its affect is certainly important, can that affect be thought-about ‘favorable’ as effectively?”


Every dot “represents a mid-sized artist by way of streams,” with the pink dots signifying misplaced earnings beneath the user-centric mannequin and inexperienced signifying earnings beneficial properties. Regardless of having “the very same quantity of
streams,” the Germany-based acts at hand skilled various earnings outcomes owing to their respective “relative person attain” (the additional their positioning to the best, the higher their standing within the class), “common person dedication” (represented by the dots’ vertical positioning), and “common person spend” (dot measurement), in line with Professional Musik. Photograph Credit score: Professional Musik

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