Am I hearing right?

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Am I hearing right?

Post by OneWorld »

Just been listening to the radio, but tuned in half way through a news topic which seemed to say a government working party (or whatever) has been/is being set up to look at payments musicians receive for streamed content and the payments should be 'fair' - or words to that effect, but hey, a government interest in addressing the paltry sums paid to musicians - really?

OK 'fair' is a very loose term, but it's a start I guess.
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by tea for two »

I think it's long overdue that streaming payout model from such as spotify which heavily favours major musicians is changed for the better for unknown musicians.

JmJarre was for years lobbying uropian union, speaking at UNESCO, so that unknown creatives musicians would get a proper share of the pie from online, when he was president of CISAC.
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by amanise »

The Cynic (capital C) in me says that any interest government might have (of any persuasion) in this would be around tracking and gathering tax monies, rather than for the income and welfare of creatives - or the nurturing of a "Cool Britannia" style creative sector. So be careful what you wish for, as always, but the streaming model is truly terrible. The distributors charge dollars for their end, the promotion companies charge dollars in their hundreds for "23k follower guaranteed" packages and such. But he streams are rewarded in thousandths of dollars. They are all basing their business models on the idea that we'd all be doing this for free anyway. But then the live music end of things was always just the same - so is it all just reflecting that?
The big guys always did have a hold on everything, so I don't see that changing - because as you become successful, you become a big guy too. (puts on hard hat).
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by Drew Stephenson »

There's been a select committee looking at it for months but my cynical hat says it's all just a bit of posturing to look like they're trying to do something before sitting back and saying, "Well all the streaming companies are based in other countries so there's really nothing we can do. How sad. Thank you for you vote."
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by James Perrett »

You can find the full story at

https://completemusicupdate.com/article ... streaming/

Apparently it arises out of the previous select committee investigation.
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by OneWorld »

James Perrett wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 12:01 pm You can find the full story at

https://completemusicupdate.com/article ... streaming/

Apparently it arises out of the previous select committee investigation.

Hmm, the cynical side of me tends to conclude that as soon as I see the words 'working group' that is a metaphor for some nice little earner coming someone's way, someone with friends that have friends in the lush contract department of the government, there's no shortage of 'Sirs' and 'Baronesses' happy to 'give their time' in exchange for a 'token sum' to cover expenses, at the mention of the word 'stream' maybe they read it as 'income stream', the £30billion+ world beating apps that were about as much use as a chocolate fireguard spring to mind
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by RichardT »

It’s hard to see what they can do - apart from banning the streaming companies from operating in the UK, in the same way as Spain banned Google News because they don’t remunerate their sources.
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by Drew Stephenson »

RichardT wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 8:58 pmin the same way as Spain banned Google News because they don’t remunerate their sources.

That's one way of looking at it. :eh:
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by RichardT »

Drew Stephenson wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 9:33 pm
RichardT wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 8:58 pmin the same way as Spain banned Google News because they don’t remunerate their sources.

That's one way of looking at it. :eh:

It wouldn’t really help anybody, would it?
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by Drew Stephenson »

RichardT wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 10:02 pm
Drew Stephenson wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 9:33 pm
RichardT wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 8:58 pmin the same way as Spain banned Google News because they don’t remunerate their sources.

That's one way of looking at it. :eh:

It wouldn’t really help anybody, would it?

If you mean us having a debate about this, no probably not! :D
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by amanise »

Drew Stephenson wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 10:26 pm
RichardT wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 10:02 pm
Drew Stephenson wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 9:33 pm
RichardT wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 8:58 pmin the same way as Spain banned Google News because they don’t remunerate their sources.

That's one way of looking at it. :eh:

It wouldn’t really help anybody, would it?

If you mean us having a debate about this, no probably not! :D

One thing I wish they'd do is make the contracts easier to understand so that you've at least got some chance of understanding what you're letting yourself in for. They could decide to do that themselves without any regulator or government intervention. They could publish "The Structure of Things" somewhere so you knew where to go next after distribution. Both are things they could just "decide to do". But wait - am I talking about the streaming giants - or mobile phone companies here? I can't remember.
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by Mike Stranks »

amanise wrote: Wed May 31, 2023 7:43 am
One thing I wish they'd do is make the contracts easier to understand...

Ah! Tricky things, contracts... :)

By accident, I became something of a contract specialist in three of my jobs - probably because I was one of the few who was anal enough to read them through carefully and work out exactly what they were saying. :lol:

In a nutshell, 'simple and straightforward' almost always means 'ambiguous or open to interpretation'... if lawyers then get involved, the £ or $ escalate at an alarming rate.

I've come across very few in any sphere that are deliberately obtuse... just that companies are dotting every i and crossing every t to ensure that there is no wriggle-room. If there is, someone will seek to exploit it.
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Mike Stranks wrote: Wed May 31, 2023 8:40 am I've come across very few in any sphere that are deliberately obtuse... just that companies are dotting every i and crossing every t to ensure that there is no wriggle-room. If there is, someone will seek to exploit it.

This! ^^^
Unfortunately contracts to be used at any scale have to be written on the basis that someone will try and exploit them. Because someone will. As usual, a small bunch of people ruin it for everyone else.
It's just like being back at school. ;)
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by Mike Stranks »

Interestingly (well, to me! :lol: ) my taking the company now known as Evri to court was precisely because there was ambiguity in one of the schedules to their contract.

They settled before we got to court... and the ambiguity is no longer there...
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by BigRedX »

My understanding of streaming revenues is that for artists that have lots of streams the payout is poor because they have signed a deal with their record company which allows the record company to pocket a significant proportion if the money.

Certainly when I look at what I'm getting per stream, it's considerably higher than all those claiming to be earning peanuts are saying. The downside is that I'm not getting enough streams to make that better percentage work for me. I would need the sort of publicity that comes with having the weight of a record company PR department behind me to achieve that.

Also AFAIK, none of the streaming services actually make any money. They are being propped up either by the more profitable parts of their parent organisations, or by outside investors hoping to eventually see some return.
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by amanise »

Mike Stranks wrote: Wed May 31, 2023 8:40 am
amanise wrote: Wed May 31, 2023 7:43 am
One thing I wish they'd do is make the contracts easier to understand...

Ah! Tricky things, contracts... :)
...
I've come across very few in any sphere that are deliberately obtuse... just that companies are dotting every i and crossing every t to ensure that there is no wriggle-room. If there is, someone will seek to exploit it.

... There is that - and its worse in the US than it is here for us in Blighty. Always seems to have been a sticking point in music as well. How many horror stories are there out there about artist contracts that the artist had no hope of understanding when they signed them. I understand the neck of a guitar pretty well - but Synch Addendums? Forget it!
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by MarkOne »

BigRedX wrote: Wed May 31, 2023 10:03 am Also AFAIK, none of the streaming services actually make any money. They are being propped up either by the more profitable parts of their parent organisations, or by outside investors hoping to eventually see some return.

From the numbers it looks like Spotify are closing in on profitability. Certainly their losses as a percentage of revenue are much smaller.

Apple only publish the amalgamated content revenue (so including Apple TV, Apps and Games with Music) so who knows, but I’d bet the Music service is still loss making.

Who knew… Giving free access to almost every song in the universe for the price of a double shot skinny latte per month and paying lots of money to the big labels (and a weeny bit to the artists) is not a licence to print money.
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by OneWorld »

It seems like the 'working groups' will have their work cut out if they are attempting to unravel the intricately woven contracts. I was labouring under the illusion that the working group could have a perusal and a few meetings and maybe throw a few field trips in and then issue an edict - writers/creators/composers will get paid proper money for any of their work that is streamed, and ocean going yacht builders and Lambo dealers can rub their hands with glee in anticipation of some new business coming their way, but yet again, seems the lawyers are the ones that will end up with the fattest wallets
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by RichardT »

OneWorld wrote: Wed May 31, 2023 11:26 am It seems like the 'working groups' will have their work cut out if they are attempting to unravel the intricately woven contracts. I was labouring under the illusion that the working group could have a perusal and a few meetings and maybe throw a few field trips in and then issue an edict - writers/creators/composers will get paid proper money for any of their work that is streamed, and ocean going yacht builders and Lambo dealers can rub their hands with glee in anticipation of some new business coming their way, but yet again, seems the lawyers are the ones that will end up with the fattest wallets

The contracts are not under UK jurisdiction, in most cases if not all, so there’s no way changing UK law would make a difference.
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by James Perrett »

BigRedX wrote: Wed May 31, 2023 10:03 am My understanding of streaming revenues is that for artists that have lots of streams the payout is poor because they have signed a deal with their record company which allows the record company to pocket a significant proportion if the money.

Certainly when I look at what I'm getting per stream, it's considerably higher than all those claiming to be earning peanuts are saying.

That ties in with what I see (I've done some work for a label helping to streamline their income processing). If you consider streaming is more like radio than physical media then the money coming from the streaming services isn't too bad. The biggest problem is with smaller artists signed to old contracts on big labels who aren't streamed as much as the big artists. If they were signed to a truly independent label who treat their artists fairly they would probably see a reasonable income but, as it is, they receive next to nothing.
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by RichardT »

James Perrett wrote: Wed May 31, 2023 12:03 pm
BigRedX wrote: Wed May 31, 2023 10:03 am My understanding of streaming revenues is that for artists that have lots of streams the payout is poor because they have signed a deal with their record company which allows the record company to pocket a significant proportion if the money.

Certainly when I look at what I'm getting per stream, it's considerably higher than all those claiming to be earning peanuts are saying.

That ties in with what I see (I've done some work for a label helping to streamline their income processing). If you consider streaming is more like radio than physical media then the money coming from the streaming services isn't too bad. The biggest problem is with smaller artists signed to old contracts on big labels who aren't streamed as much as the big artists. If they were signed to a truly independent label who treat their artists fairly they would probably see a reasonable income but, as it is, they receive next to nothing.

I think one element of unfairness is that (as I understand it) the majors get higher royalty rates on Spotify than the smaller labels and the independents.

It’s understandable on one level as they have bought significant shares of Spotify, but it creates a bias against the smaller players.
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by Drew Stephenson »

I think all the streaming services are wrestling with a very delicate balancing act. For musos like us, we'd probably happy double our member fees per month and still think it a bargain - or at least a fair price.
But, as I've said before, most people just aren't that interested in music. Put the price up and, especially in a cost of living crisis, you might lose more subscribers than you gain from the increased fees.
So then you consider not providing a free service - at which point you watch piracy numbers shoot up again.

I expect average monthly fees to go up to $12 to $15 in the next twelve months.
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by James Perrett »

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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by BigRedX »

For me streaming services are used either as background music or "try before I buy", and for that the free version of Spotify works perfectly well.

If I really want to support an artist I'll go to one of their gigs and buy their CD or record, or a T-shirt (which is normally has the biggest profit margin of any item on the merch table).
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by BigRedX »

One of the things those two new articles highlighted (and which I have seen mentioned elsewhere) was the payment of royalties for session musicians who played on a recording.

How is that going to work? Surely they were all paid a session fee for their performance in the recording studio and that should have been that? So where is the money to pay these additional musicians going to come from? Who is going to have to take a cut it order to fund it?
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by Drew Stephenson »

BigRedX wrote: Wed May 31, 2023 2:38 pm One of the things those two new articles highlighted (and which I have seen mentioned elsewhere) was the payment of royalties for session musicians who played on a recording.

How is that going to work? Surely they were all paid a session fee for their performance in the recording studio and that should have been that? So where is the money to pay these additional musicians going to come from? Who is going to have to take a cut it order to fund it?

All very valid questions. The devil is always in the detail.

But an agreement on the metadata is a good first step, at least then you've got the detail...
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by tea for two »

From my time spending some (anxious) hours in London with a few of the tech Moguls in 2014 2015.
Tech investor Moguls are interested in Empire building Worldwide through tech.
Tech investors want to feel as Mogul Emperors.
It isn't for no reason that they are termed tech Mogul.

They are Not interested in profits, as they have $Billions in digital numbers to burn.
They couldn't give two hoots about paying out to tom dick n harry that's just a by product of their Worldwide Empire building.

So if you have a tech concept that can become a Worldwide Empire as AirBnB, Spotify, then you can make a deal with the devil as it were : become a tech $Billionaire sell your soul who gives an Flyin F about your soul right.

I had still have 2 such Worldwide Empire building tech projects.
I pulled out thankfully in time.
Very happy being a nobody.
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by James Perrett »

BigRedX wrote: Wed May 31, 2023 2:38 pm Who is going to have to take a cut it order to fund it?

As I understand it, session musicians are already paid for physical media sales so I guess they are proposing something similar for streams.
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by BigRedX »

James Perrett wrote: Wed May 31, 2023 8:45 pmAs I understand it, session musicians are already paid for physical media sales so I guess they are proposing something similar for streams.

And who would have normally got that money? Because it has to come from somewhere.

As I see it there are two types of session playing. The first where you are simply there to play what you are told, usually from a score. To me that's like being a builder. You are there to do a job and you get paid once the job (recording) is complete and that is that. As a builder you don't carry on getting paid because what you built is still standing. The second is where you have creative input in what you play and therefore you should be entitled to a writing credit and the performance royalties that come with it.

I've done a little bit of "session" work for musicians and bands that I know. I don't read (or at least not well enough for someone to stick a score in front of me and for me to be able to play it straight away) so my work has always been "creative" and I have been asked to play because the person asking me to play has specifically wanted my input and musical style as part of the music. In these cases I have always played for free and got for a songwriting credit in return. Had I decided to take a "session fee" instead I wouldn't be expecting any further payment for my work at a later date.
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Re: Am I hearing right?

Post by amanise »

BigRedX wrote: Thu Jun 01, 2023 8:17 am As I see it there are two types of session playing. The first where you are simply there to play what you are told, usually from a score. .... The second is where you have creative input in what you play and therefore you should be entitled to a writing credit and the performance royalties that come with it.

This would define the point at which you had claim over some or all of the intellectual property of an original work. The writing credit would be acknowledgement of that IP share - but I'm not sure it directly translates into guaranteed money. Probably what a lot of the fights are about.
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