Yet another detailed study calls for the introduction of a right to equitable remuneration

On 15 September a study commissioned by IAO entitled “Streams & Dreams – A Fair Music Economy for All” was published, recommending the introduction of a right to equitable remuneration for streaming in the music sector. It is available here.

The purpose of the study was to investigate what is needed for a fair digital music economy to exist. It took into account all parties involved in the industry but focussed on featured artists.

Data was obtained from 200 professional active musicians in a number of European countries, and a thorough analysis of existing academic research particularly relating to remuneration was carried out. The study focussed on a right to equitable remuneration but also addressed issues such as user-centric models vs pro rata models and collective management.

A survey showed that 87.5% of respondents are unsatisfied, or very unsatisfied, with their revenues from streaming platforms. It made specific reference to the fact that the findings were in line with other studies, including a study commissioned by AEPO-ARTIS.

It identified the problem with streaming as being the need “… to fix the true unfair practices in the music industry, imbalances in power that have led to a situation where… artists still do not receive a correct remuneration”

Among its findings were:

  • A right to unwaivable equitable remuneration must be introduced
  • Only 8.5% of respondents believed an ER solution would influence their revenues negatively.
  • Only 21% of the artists signed to a label were satisfied with their deal.
  • The current situation where some countries have implemented an ER right as a part of the DSM directive, while others have not, is not sustainable.

It found that a solution based on legislation which introduces the mere principle of “fair contracts’ does not work. It referred to a Norwegian law which has such a principle and stated that: “After four years it seems that the new act has not had any direct implications on praxis.”

Instead, it recommended a solution of introducing an ER right and concluding agreements with labels: “A hybrid model with both an unwaivable equitable remuneration right (the Spain/Belgium model) and agreements between label and artist communities (the French model) on fair contract practices.”

This is yet another study that comes to the conclusion that the introduction of a right to equitable remuneration is essential to a fair streaming industry. There is now overwhelming academic support for the introduction of such a right.

See also: WIPO Study “Artists in the Digital Music Marketplace: economic and legal considerations” by Christian L. Castle, Esq. and Prof. Claudio Feijóo (available here), “The Principle Of Appropriate And Proportionate Remuneration Of Art.18 Digital Single Market Directive: Some Thoughts For Its National Implementation”, by Professor Raquel Xalabarder (available here), and the DCMS Economics of Music Streaming report (available here).