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Artist managers formally call for more transparency in streaming as MMF publishes part two of Digital Dollar report

By | Published on Thursday 6 October 2016

Dissecting The Digital Dollar

The UK’s Music Managers Forum has formally called for more transparency around the music industry’s streaming deals as it publishes Part Two of its ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ report. Produced by CMU Insights, our training and consultancy unit, the report summarises a series of roundtable discussions staged by the MMF earlier this year involving labels, publishers, artists, songwriters, lawyers, accountants and managers, with the input of over 200 people from the UK, US, Canada and France.

The roundtable discussions considered the various issues raised in Part One of ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’, which was published just under a year ago, though transparency stood out by far as the biggest problem for artist managers. Not least because the lack of clarity around the music industry’s streaming deals, how digital royalties are processed, and how legacy record contracts are applied, often means managers are unable to have fully informed opinions on other key issues like how the value the streaming is shared and the big safe harbours debate.

Launching its new report in London this morning, the MMF said that it “believes the wider music industry now needs to work together to further grow the premium streaming market that is driving the recent uplift in recorded music revenues, but that requires rights owners and collecting societies to be more open with artists, songwriters and their representatives about their digital deals, and the ways streaming income is shared between the different stakeholder groups”.

It went on: “Managers need to better understand streaming deals so that they can audit their artists’ royalties, advise clients on the best music industry business partners to work with, and make informed decisions about which streaming services – and which streaming business models – work best for their artists, so that those artists can confidentially encourage fans to become paying customers of the right streaming platforms”.

On the back of the new report, which will be available to download for free later today, the MMF has set out its key objectives in relation to recorded music, splitting its agenda into ‘innovate’, what the MMF itself and its members commit to do; ‘advocate’, what it wants the wider music industry to do; and ‘regulate’, where government might be able to assist.

The trade group’s CEO Annabella Coldrick and President Jon Webster, said this morning: “The launch of ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar Part Two’ continues the MMF’s long campaign for a more transparent music industry with the interests of artists and fans at its core. Through this report, we have been able to get to the heart of key issues affecting the modern music business ecosystem and identify practical steps for our members, their artists and the wider industry”.

They added: “The MMF is committed to educating and enabling the management community and scrutinising the entire music value chain to make sure that everyone is properly remunerated for their hard work and creative contributions. We hope that all who read this report will share our vision and work with us to create a fairer music business”.

You can download both the full report and an executive summary here. In addition to transparency, the report considers division of revenue, performer equitable remuneration, sharing the value of digital deals, the role of the collecting societies, copyright data and safe harbours.