Transparency. It is a byproduct of the information age and is taking many industries by storm including philanthropy, cause-driven business, and now music. The lack of transparency in the music business is enough to raise several eyebrows in concern for how industry artists are making a living. A year long study concluded that that 20-50% of payment rights do not make it to their rightful owners as a result of the complexities of the industry. This number comes from close conversations with those who handle payment allocation within many labels.
Artist rights have come into public conversation as of late as pop star Taylor Swift has demanded better royalty pay from streaming music services including Spotify and Apple Music. Jay Z’s new streaming service Tidal, has publicly promised better rates for it’s artists as well, beginning a trend of artist rights in the public’s view.
In modern media, artists can collect fractions of pennies for their music being featured in movies or commercials, all without any album being bought or sold. It is the middle men within the process that hurt each artist’s’ bottom line. Each person money passes through, takes a piece of the pie until only crumbs remain.
Where artists are getting short changed, is in the streaming music division of the industry. Each streaming service pays an upfront fee to music labels (think tens of millions of dollars), but the money cannot be tracked back to the artists from there. The trail goes cold.
Proposed is a way for artists to track popularity and royalties owed to them, by using the technology platforms in the back end of all these services. Doing so will allow them to accurately keep records of what each service and label owes to the originator of the music!
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