Musicians are a motley crew, the music industry has been battered in the past decade and a half, with recorded music only amounting to a total of 14.3 billion dollars in 2014, a far cry from its peak of 24 billion in 1999. With this financial pressure creating a real squeeze for even relatively famous artists, musicians, along with the companies that represent them, have had to radically adapt their perceptions around monetization and shift their focus from the astronomical physical sales of the past, to the streaming revolution where royalties and their neighbouring rights are king.
This sounds like a simple plan for artists to implement, focus on making the most out of streaming, get your music across as many digital platforms as possible and watch the plays roll in. But any experienced musician will know that dodgy labels, a long turn around and the murky innards of the music industry often leave you wondering why the amount you receive is a just a tad lower than analytics would suggest.
This is not a new issue for the industry, it’s only now where artists rely far more heavily on royalties that the mystique surrounding the money collection process has come under the spotlight. Composers and performers alike now want to know exactly how much revenue their works generate and to be paid promptly and inline with what they expect, something that industry giants have been slow to address.
Fortunately, strides are being made to combat this lack of transparency. Publishing companies like Kobalt and BMG are moving in an “artist first” direction, leading to higher payments for their artists as a result of streamlining their processes. Kobalt, with offices in the US, Europe, Hong Kong and Australia, has been growing rapidly by addressing the issue of transparency. They study thousands of data points across all music platforms, allowing them to deliver real time analytics and earning reports direct to their roster of talent. This has created a mini revolution within the industry, leading to major artists moving to Kobalt’s services and leaving the long established companies scrambling to catch up.
This of course only applies to mechanical rights (composition rights). The world of performance rights is a little easier to navigate, thanks in large to the collection societies established in markets around the world. PRS in the UK, APRA/AMCOS in Australia and BMI in North America (and across Europe and parts of Asia) have long put the interests of artists (or their representing labels) to the forefront.
Companies and organisations like those stated above are stepping in the right direction to achieve balance between the different stakeholders of the industry. Technology drives efficiency and transparency, two things vital to the restoration of trust between artist and publisher. The music industry has been hit hard by technology, but by embracing the new, they can create an eco-system that benefits everyone from the big players to the small.
Lumina is currently engaged on a search with a global music rights organisation, looking to hire an Executive Director for Creative. Head over to our Searches page for more details