The Transparency Index: Music Managers Forum launches drive for better digital deals and greater transparency

18 January 2018

  • Managers to rate their business partners and create a Transparency Index of the most artist-friendly labels, distributors and aggregators.
  • MMF publish an updated second edition paperback version of Dissecting The Digital Dollar collating more than three years of research and helping demystify the revenue flow for music streaming. Buy the book here.

The UK’s Music Managers Forum (MMF) has announced the next phase of its Dissecting The Digital Dollar initiative, with plans to collate a Transparency Index that rates labels and distributors on the quality of information and reporting provided to artists and managers.

Based on scoring from MMF manager members on 20 different data and information sets, the Index aims to raise industry standards and to assess how transparent – or not – the streaming business is. Ultimately, it will recognise the world’s most artist-friendly labels and distributors, inspire further discussion and encourage those businesses who fall short to raise their standards.

Commenting on the initiative, MMF Chief Executive Annabella Coldrick commented:

“The pace of change in the digital music market is incredible. Only weeks into 2018, and the industry is already buzzing with details of Spotify’s Direct Public Offering, and new licensing deals between Facebook and major record labels and publishers. 

“These are seismic events that will define our sector for years to come, however it is absolutely crucial that artists, songwriters and their business representatives can understand how these new partnerships are structured and how their creative works are being exploited. 

“Unfortunately, these kind of details are often lacking, which is why the MMF launched our Dissecting The Digital Dollar initiative in the first place. We hope that a Transparency Index will provide yet more impetus for improved partnerships between artists and their labels, distributors and aggregators as we look to reforge the industry around fairer and more equitable structures.”

Alongside the Transparency Index, the MMF is also proud to announce publication of a new paperback book, written with music consultancy CMU Insights, that collates all Dissecting The Digital Dollar work to date, as well as open access to a Digital Deals Comparison Calculator – offering a simple means for artists and managers to visualise the pros and cons of different label and distributor partnerships.

The Calculator can be accessed here, while the book has already won plaudits from influential figures across the industry.

Robert Horsfall – Sound Advice LLP:

Thank you and well done to the MMF and CMU for publishing these “must read” guides for managers and artists and their business advisers. Their desire for transparency in the digital era sits alongside my desire for a simplification of industry contracts. True “partnerships” call for both, so as to engender trust and to enable the financial health of the creative community.

Cliff Fluet – Lewis Silkin:

Dissecting the Digital Dollar is so much more than a beginners guide – it goes deep into the intricacies of digital music, rights and revenues and is an indispensable guide to the music industry in the streaming era.

Erik Nielsen – Wingnut Music / Rocket Music:

DDD is an invaluable guide to professionals at any level in the music industry. It cuts through the fog to explain in plain English how the modern streaming and digital economy and ecosystem works, from the services themselves to labels and distributors, and the types of deals involved. Most importantly, it highlights traps, hidden costs, and other complex processes and challenges that even seasoned managers and artists can overlook – and need to be aware of!

Carlotta De Ninni – Head of Research, Mycelia:

Dissecting the Digital Dollar is a must-read publication. It enlightens the complexities and the challenges about digital licensing. Everyone working -or willing to work- in our beloved music industry should know it by heart.

Richard Lightman – Producer, Composer, Musician, Sound Designer:

With the success of music streaming services, the music business has become a confusing and challenging issue for artists, their managers and producers. Dissecting the Digital Dollar opens up the mysteries of digital streaming royalties, how the income streams are apportioned and how to follow the money. This is a must have for any musician or music business operative especially with the new Digital Deals Guide and Transparency Index. A real eye-opener!

Dave Wibberley – Programme Leader, Music Industry Management BA (Hons) at LCCM:

As an Artist Manager, Dissecting the Digital Dollar has given me get a much better understanding of the complexities and inherent unfairness of much of the digital streaming business, particularly as it impacts upon songwriters and their royalties.

To purchase a copy of Dissecting The Digital Dollar, please click here. 

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