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MMF launches Third Edition of Dissecting The Digital Dollar

By | Published on Friday 17 July 2020

Dissecting The Digital Dollar

The Music Managers Forum in the UK yesterday published the Third Edition of ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’, the book that brings together the five years of research that MMF has undertaken with CMU Insights to help music managers understand the inner workings of the streaming music business.

The new version of the book includes an updated version of the original ‘Digital Dollar’ report, which not only explains the streaming music business model, but also the copyright law, music industry conventions and collective licensing systems that you need to understand for the model to make sense. Updates take into account all the latest market trends, plus key copyright law reforms like the EU Copyright Directive and the US Music Modernization Act.

It also summarises the series of roundtable debates that the MMF staged as part of the ‘Digital Dollar’ project involving artists, songwriters, labels, publishers, lawyers, accountants and managers, and subsequent discussions involving the MMF’s board and custodians. Again, the book brings the topics discussed bang up to date and includes more on those areas that have become a much bigger talking point of late, such as the user-centric royalty distribution conversation.

In more recent years the ‘Digital Dollar’ project has put the spotlight on some other specific aspects of the modern digital music industry, including label deals, transparency, fan data and song royalties. The guides that have been published on each of those topics are included as appendices in the book.

Launching the Third Edition yesterday, MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick said: “The devastating impact of COVID-19 has understandably re-focused attention on the streaming business, and means the MMF’s ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ project is more pertinent than ever”.

“Since we started this work five years ago, streaming income has become increasingly important to artists and it is absolutely crucial that managers have the information to make the right commercial decisions. While we have seen much progress, there are certain orthodoxies in this market that must continue to be challenged. MMF remains committed to advocating for changes and ensuring the system delivers efficiently and effectively for music makers”.

Alongside the launch, members of the MMF board and custodians council also explained why they feel the ‘Digital Dollar’ project has been so important for a management community that is having to navigate a constantly evolved and often complex streaming music business.

“The streaming ecosystem can often feel impenetrable in its complexity”, Lisa Ward from Red Light Management noted. “But ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ offers an easy-to-read step-by-step guide to navigate how licensing works and where revenues flow. The book also highlights many of the dysfunctions in this market that are long overdue reform, particularly the often arcane distribution of songwriter royalties”.

Meanwhile, Tim Clark from ie:music added: “The MMF’s ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ project has been running a full five years and remains the most comprehensive overview of the streaming market and the place of artists and music-makers within it. As well as helping managers be informed to make better deals so their artists can benefit from fair shares of streaming income, it also outlines key areas where reforms are urgently needed. It is my most thumbed work of reference!”

At the start of an online launch event yesterday afternoon, CMU’s Chris Cooke – author of the book – set out five key changes and challenges that we have seen in the last five years, or will see in the next five. A summary of that presentation is here.

You can buy the Third Edition of ‘Digital Dollar’ from Amazon here.