The Music Managers Forum has long campaigned for a fairer, more transparent music industry that operates in the interest of artists and fans. We published Dissecting the Digital Dollar parts 1 and 2 to further that aim regarding streaming. Both are available from our website. These bite-sized extracts summarise each issue and propose practical courses of action for managers and artists. The third of these extracts will look at transparency.
There are many unanswered questions about the deals concluded between DSPs and rights holders; about how digital consumption is accounted for and monetised and therefore how much an artist actually receives.
Managers need this information to decide who to work with on digital deals; who should be proactively supported and to assess which companies are most transparent. There are obviously some elements of deals which need to remain confidential but they are few. In the digital age deals have, however, become covered by Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) enabling parties to refuse to share data crucial for artists and managers. There is much debate about which parties – DSPs or rights holders – insist upon these clauses. The MMF continues to explore whether NDAs are anti-competitive.
The European Commission have introduced Article 14 in the new draft Copyright Directive that proposes member states should introduce laws to ensure “authors and performers receive on a regular basis and taking into account the specificities of each sector, timely, adequate and sufficient information on the exploitation of their works “. The MMF strongly supports this article and calls upon managers and artists to add their voices to the campaign to keep that clause in the new directive. This clause has been opposed by rights holders confirming managers’ suspicions that rights holders benefit from the lack of transparency
Actions for Managers/Artists:
- The MMF will shortly publish a list of information that managers require from services and rights holders in order to fully understand the flow of consumption and therefore royalty income that their artists generate.
- Please support the resultant call by the MMF to discover which parties are insisting on the provisions in contracts that ensure excess transparency exists. Discuss those provisions with services and rights owners to clarify what information they are willing to share. We accept some information needs to remain on a confidential basis.
- When negotiating deals make sure there are provisions in the contract for sharing of all the information you and your artist require in order to accurately assess if you have been accounted to correctly.