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Believe, Tunecore Decry UMG, Deezer ‘Reverse Robin Hood’ Artist Payouts

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(Hypebot) — Global digital music company Believe has taken aim at plans by Deezer and UMG to change how streaming payments are calculated to what they call a “value sharing artist-centric” model.
Many of the independent and D.I.Y. artists distributed by Believe-owned Tuncore are likely to negatively impacted by the new plan.
Believe is applauding portions of the plan that will remove white noise and other non-music tracks from payment calculations and increase efforts to police fake streams, but calls two major changes a “reverse Robin Hood” scheme that will hurt many artists:

  • Deezer will now attribute a double boost to what they define as “professional artists” – those who have a minimum of 1,000 streams per month by a minimum of 500 unique listeners – in order to “reward them for the quality and engagement they bring to the platforms and fans.”
  • double boost will also be paid for songs that fans actively engage with, reducing the economic influence of algorithmic programming. In other words, playing a track from your library will pay the artist more than just hearing it in an algorithmically created playlist.

Deezer’s new calculations are aimed at increasing compensation for mid-level to established and top artists, but those increases will come at the expense of early stage artists.
Believe also callled out Deezer and UMG, who are hoping to include others in their plans, for not seeking input from atists and the independent music community.

A Reverse Robin Hood System

“As a company working with artists and labels at all levels,” the company said in a statement. “Believe considers that all artists shall  be compensated equally by streaming services regardless of their stage of development. We strongly oppose an unfair ‘reverse Robin Hood’ system that is centered around taking  compensation from rising artists to allocate it to top and established artists. Further, it is our belief,  based on data, that such a system would reduce diversity and discourage creativity.”
“Right now, the debate about “value-sharing”  does not exist. Instead, we are experiencing commercial negotiations to lower the market share of all  independent artists,” said Denis Ladegaillerie, Founder & CEO, Believe. “We do not think it is right to trade less diversity for better economics, nor for top artists  to take away revenue from emerging acts.”

MORE: UMG, Deezer artist-centric payments could be better, says MIDiA’s Mark Mulligan

Bruce Houghton is the Founder and Editor of Hypebot, a Senior Advisor at Bandsintown, President of the Skyline Artists Agency, and a Berklee College Of Music professor.

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