Streaming platform – SoundCloud will pay artists differently

The SoundCloud music streaming platform has announced a new system for paying artists based on listening.

The German application SoundCloud will pay its artists according to their listening.

Keystone/Christian Beutler)

Small revolution in music streaming: the German platform SoundCloud announced Tuesday to AFP to launch, in April, a new system of remuneration for artists based on the listening times of each artist, a first that could be emulated.

“This is a demand that has been coming back for years in the industry. We are happy to be the first to bring this innovation to support artists, ”said Michael Weissman, director general of the platform, to AFP.

Until now, the operation of music streaming platforms, such as Spotify, Deezer and SoundClound has been simple: a subscriber who pays 10 euros (11 francs) per month sees a large part of this sum migrate to the most streamed artists.

Known under the name of “market centric” (pro rata of total listenings), this system, criticized by artists, is opposed to the theoretical model of “user centric”, which is based on the individual listening of subscribers. Concretely, the first system favors the big stars like Drake or Ariana Grande, to the detriment of the smaller ones.

“Fair and equitable”

It is this system that the German platform Soundcloud will question, which, from April 1, will inaugurate, for artists who monetize their creations using the SoundCloud Premier, Repost by SoundCloud or Repost Select services, a system that links their remuneration for listening to their fans.

In total, “nearly 100,000 independent artists” around the world are affected by this change of method, out of the 30 million present on the platform.

A more “fair” and “equitable” system according to SoundCloud, and which should ultimately promote greater musical diversity. According to his estimates, French artists in particular should be the big winners of this change: they would see the total amount paid to them collectively increase by nearly 25%.

Enough to appease the anger of the artists, who, deprived of income from concerts, suspended due to a health crisis, have been denouncing the remuneration system of these platforms for months?

Stabilization of the “ranking environment”

“It’s an interesting initiative”, greeted AFP Jean-Philippe Thiellay, President of the National Music Center, a body that oversees the French music industry. “Things are moving a lot in the streaming world, that’s a good thing. Now we will have to see precisely what this will change for artists ”.

At the end of January, the institution estimated, in a study carried out by the firm Deloitte, that changing the system of distribution of musical platforms, from the common pot to listening by artist, would have little impact on the remuneration of currently marginalized musicians and would have the main effect to stabilize the “middle of the ranking”.

Greater diversity

Another interesting element of this study, a change in remuneration would generate much greater musical diversity: royalties would increase by + 24% for classical music, + 22% for hard rock, 18% for blues. Conversely, “mainstream” music such as rap would see their royalty drop by 21%.

The study, conducted with the firm Deloitte, did not however include the SoundCloud platform but only the two giants Spotify and Deezer, who had agreed to play the game.

On the side of the British Academy of Songwriters, which is currently leading a campaign demanding fairer remuneration for artists, we welcome the announcement of SoundCloud. “When you switch to a ‘market centric’ system, the remuneration of artists who have an audience increases significantly,” explains its chairman Crispin Hunt to AFP.

“The basic principle of every market is that the more new customers you attract, the more your income increases. The remuneration of artists according to the listening time is precisely based on this idea, ”he continues. It remains to be seen whether other music streaming platforms will follow this model.


Posted today at 4:35 p.m.

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