The Music Managers Forum (MMF) has launched two new guides to help artists and their managers better navigate the fast-evolving streaming music business and make more educated commercial decisions.
Unveiled yesterday evening at the offices of PPL, ‘The Deals Guide’ and ‘The Transparency Guide’ explore the different ways artists can now work with labels and distributors to manage, market and distribute their music online; while also outlining the data and information artists and managers require from these partners in order to fully capitalise on the rapidly expanding streaming market.
Produced by music consultancy CMU Insights, both publications are part of the MMF’s groundbreaking ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ project, and are available to download for free from the MMF website.
As highlighted by previous ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ reports, the recorded music market remains in a state of significant upheaval, and not just because of the increased dominance of the streaming platforms. The arrival of new players and new deals of the B2B music marketplace – alongside traditional record companies and record deals – has disrupted the ‘traditional’ relationship between artist and label, opening up a range of new opportunities for both emerging and established acts.
It means artists can take more of a ‘pick and mix’ approach when deciding who to work with around their recordings, selecting which services they require and exercising far greater control over use of their repertoire. Within these new market dynamics, labels and distributors are also increasingly competing on the data and information they provide to artists, a trend which is starting to address some of the ongoing transparency issues in streaming.
As a result, music managers – as key advisors to their artists’ businesses – need a greater understanding of the range of commercial deals available, the pros and cons of different approached, and the data and information they should be seeking from their label and distribution partners. These guides will help inform that process.
MMF Chief Executive Annabella Coldrick says: “In the streaming age, the traditional relationship between the artist as rights ‘creator’ and label as rights ‘owner’ is over. As music fans have seen the rise of Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud and YouTube, artists have also seen new companies and new deals emerge behind the scenes which mean they have more choice when deciding who to work with to distribute and market their records.”
“This is very exciting. Though, as recognised in the ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ report we published last year, to capitalise on these changes, artists and their managers are in urgent in need of more information about the different kinds of labels and label deals available. And they also need more transparency about the streaming business to make informed decisions about their business partners. These two guides will help plug their knowledge block, ensuring managers are better informed to take the decisions that will grow their artists’ businesses.”
Alongside ‘The Deals Guide’, the MMF is also launching the Digital Deals Comparison Calculator, developed by Media Insight Consulting. This will enable managers to see visual comparisons of the different kinds of deals available to their artists, in terms of what services are included and how future streaming income will be shared. This will be available to MMF members via the organisation’s website.
Complementing ‘The Transparency Guide’, MMF has published a Transparency Index, encouraging members to assess the labels and distributors they work with – in terms of how much data and information they provide – and to confidentially share the results. The information gained will be used to inform the ongoing pan-industry conversations around transparency, and will help labels and distributors better understand how to evolve their respective data and information platforms and portals.