Dissecting The Digital Dollar

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Helping artists and managers navigate the streaming business


The growth of music streaming has dramatically changed the business of recorded music. Instead of sharing in the proceeds of a physical or digital sale, music makers and rights holders are now participating in new commercial models based on revenue share and micro-payments. ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ explains how the streaming business works, how the music industry has licensed the digital platforms and how digital royalties flow through the system. To help you understand this complex licensing model, it also provides a beginner’s guide to music copyright, record and publishing contracts, and the collective licensing system. The reports were produced for the MMF by music consultancy CMU Insights.

‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar 3rd Edition’ was published in July 2020 and is the complete collection and updated version of the Dissecting The Digital Dollar Reports. The book can be ordered here. 

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The Digital Dollar Reports

‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar Part One’ was published in October 2015 and explains in one place how audio streaming services are licensed. It also includes a beginner’s guide to music copyright, recording and publishing contracts, and collective licensing, all of which impact on how the music industry’s digital deals are structured.

Part 1 is available here
Executive Summary:

Download Executive Summary

Full Report:

Download Our Full Report

‘Dissecting The Digital Digital Part Two’ was published in October 2016 and was based on a series of roundtable discussions involving over 200 music professionals in four countries, including artists, songwriters, labels, publishers, accountants, lawyers and managers. The discussions considered seven key issues with the current streaming business model and the resulting report proposed a series of solutions.

Download Part 2 as a PDF here
Executive Summary:

Download Executive Summary

Full Report:

Download Part 2- The Full Report

The Digital Dollar Guides

Based on the findings of the ‘Digital Dollar’ roundtables, in October 2017 the MMF is publishing two new guides: ‘The Deals Guide’ and ‘The Transparency Guide’.

‘The Deals Guide’ explains the workings, legalities and pros and cons of the various different kinds of label and distribution deals available to artists today.

To accompany ‘The Deals Guide’ we are also launching the MMF Digital Deals Comparison Calculator, which makes it easier for managers to understand the key differences between different deal types in terms of the services that are provided and the way revenues are shared. The calculator will be available here online later this month.

Download The Deals Guide

‘The Transparency Guide’ identifies all the information and data artists and managers require from their business partners to fully understand and succeed in the streaming business.

To accompany ‘The Transparency Guide’ we are also launching the MMF Transparency Index that will allow managers to compare just how transparent different business partners really are, and to share that information with the rest of the management community. The index will be available here online later this month.

Download The Transparency Guide