MMF Report: Dissecting The Digital Dollar

01 October 2015

MMF UK has commissioned a major new report ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’.

The report is written by Chris Cooke of CMU Insights and was first published on 13th October 2015. It was the result of 9 months of in-depth qualitative research with 30 digital music experts and 50 artist managers in five markets including the UK, who between them work with acts signed to all three major music companies and over 100 independent record labels. It revealed that:

  • When asked about how government could help the music community, the issue prioritised by 34% of artist managers was the need for better transparency on digital income. In second place, 28% said their main focus was the so-called ‘Safe Harbours’ in US and European law that the UK recorded music industry has made its lobbying priority this year.
  • Less than 10% of artist managers have been told the key components of the labels’ streaming deals for all the artists they manage
  • And less than 20% have been briefed by their label partners on how digital deals have been structured
  • 78% said that ‘Equitable Remuneration’ should be paid on all digital services, in line with that already received from broadcast revenues

‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ sets out to explain how streaming services are licensed and how gross digital income is shared between each stakeholder in the wider music community, including artists, songwriters, labels, publishers and the streaming services themselves.  It examines how the music rights industry has evolved a new licensing model for the streaming platforms, influenced by copyright law, industry conventions and legacy agreements, and identifies the challenges artists now face.

The report outlines 7 key issues, then poses 15 questions for artists, managers and their music business partners to answer.

MMF CEO Jon Webster said “With streaming services now a key revenue for the music industry, it is time for everyone involved in the creation of music to be involved in the debate around how this market evolves. The way labels and publishers license the streaming platforms is complex, which has hindered that debate to date. Through our new report ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’, we hope to educate artists and managers, to inform ongoing discussions and to identify the questions that the industry at large needs to answer.”

Brian Message, MMF member and Co-manager of Nick Cave, Radiohead and PJ Harvey added “Having publicly supported streaming as a route out of the constraints of physical distribution and digital piracy, I have been somewhat dismayed at how streaming services have been licensed and how creators and their representatives, by and large, have been shut out. The erosion of trust in the chain from creator to consumer lies at the heart of an economic model that should now be flying.  I therefore urge labels, publishers, collection societies and the digital platforms to come to the table and discuss their digital deals more openly with us. The industry is changing, it cannot stay the same. Better transparency and an open, collaborative conversation will surely build the trust that can drive forward the music industry economy to benefit us all.”

To receive a free digital copy of ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ please sign up at


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