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CMU publishes new guide on performer payments from streaming

By | Published on Tuesday 31 August 2021

Streaming services

As the big debate on the economics of streaming continues, today CMU Insights has published a new guide explaining if and how performers get paid whenever their performances are streamed – whether those are musical or audio-visual performances.

The digital pie debate in music – ie how digital monies are shared out between stakeholders across the music community – has been a big talking point ever since it became clear that streaming was turning into the biggest recorded music revenue stream. In the last year, that specific discussion also dominated the ‘Economics Of Streaming’ inquiry in the UK Parliament.

A similar debate is also occurring in the audio-visual sector. While for the TV and movie industries subscription streaming remains a relatively small part of the business, it is also the fastest growing revenue stream by quite some margin, with the global streaming platforms in particular becoming increasingly powerful, as both distributors and producers of content.

All these debates require an understanding of how performers are currently paid when their performances are streamed. To help ensure that everyone has that knowledge, PayPerformers commissioned CMU Insights to produce and publish a user-friendly guide to how performer payments work with both music and audio-visual services.

In most cases, if and how performers share in the monies generated by streaming services like those run by Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Spotify depends entirely on the deal each performer has done with a producer, studio, broadcaster or record label. Conventions differ between the music and audio-visual sectors, and from country to country. And in music, there are all sorts of complexities around record deals that also impact on royalty payments.

When music is broadcast or performed in public, artists and musicians have statutory rights to payment through the collective licensing system. And in some countries, actors enjoy similar remuneration rights from the broadcast and/or retransmission of audio-visual productions in which they perform. However, in most cases, those statutory rights do not apply to streaming.

Whether or not they should is another big part of the digital pie – and wider economics of streaming – debate, of course, both in the UK and all over Europe.

The new guide explains how everything currently works, when performers get paid from streams, and how those payments are calculated along the way. It’s based on a series of interviews with managers, lawyers and accountants in multiple European countries – with additional insights from performer unions and societies across the continent.

It also runs through all the variables, especially when it comes to featured artists in the music industry, and the various challenges and issues artists and managers have raised with record deals in recent years, especially when old deals have been applied to new revenue streams.

You can download the guide – ‘Performer Payments From Streaming – for free here.