Music streaming service Deezer has published a statement on its website announcing its decision to raise its subscription prices for the second time in a year. The France-based company’s website explained the rise in costs, attributing it to a need to provide “valuable support for artists and enhance fan experiences.” Beginning September 21, Deezer will increase prices for all new premium and family subscriptions in key territories, including France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, and the UK.
Residuals, which are key to Hollywood strikes, are an imperfect answer to the threat posed by recording technology. Every advance in the mechanisms of recording or distribution poses a both threat and an opportunity to artists. Residuals are a solvent that allows technology to proceed. Artists capture whatever upside they can find, while the residuals compensate for the threat.
There are new moves afoot to avoid some of the negative impacts that creative AI technologies might have on musicians. In the US, this week sees the introduction of a revised version of the Protect Working Musicians Act. In the UK, meanwhile, today’s development comes from the Council of Music Makers, which is the umbrella body for The Ivors Academy, the Featured Artists Coalition, the Musicians’ Union, the Music Producers Guild and the Music Managers Forum.
The U.S. music industry continued its robust growth in the first half of 2023, according to the RIAA’s latest mid-year report. Total revenues grew 9.3% at estimated retail value, reaching an all-time first-half high of $8.4 billion; at wholesale value, revenues grew 8.3% to $5.3 billion. Paid streaming subscriptions continued to be the strongest driver of revenue growth, according to the report, increasing by more than $550 million and growing to around 96 million subscriptions during the period.
Amazon continues to modify how authors and other creators can use its Kindle Direct Publishing self-publishing platform as the use of generative AI spreads throughout publishing. In an update posted in the KDP Community Forum on Monday, the company announced that it is “lowering the volume limits we have in place on new title creations.”
The subscription-based streaming model proves vastly different than the ad-revenue-fueled traditional TV bundle. High licensing costs and low revenues per subscriber quickly caught up with studios, which had previously placated shareholders with massive subscription growth. Yet streaming remains the focus for all of these companies as consumers rapidly cut the cord and opt for streaming.
A brutal assessment of streaming would be that no one is happy. Every stakeholder, except perhaps, the consumer, has a beef with how streaming operates. All of which means that any fixes (at least those that will succeed) will need to deliver some form of benefit to all stakeholders, big and small. And that means tackling the underlying behavioral dynamics of streaming, from which today’s royalty issues come.
UK management body the MMF’s series of ‘Dissecting the Digital Dollar’ reports have gone down well with managers looking for accessible industry explainers. The guide explains AI technologies relevant to music; looks at the rights and legal issues around them; and the industry campaigns and policy positions. However, we’re most interested in the inclusion of a template letter, provided by the Council of Music Makers, for managers to send to labels, distributors and publishers.
IMPALA members have flagged that some of the language used in the press in reaction to Deezer’s proposal is “clearly unfortunate.” Impala’s letter reads. “It’s a common thread through the history of recorded music that the great artistic advances and changes have come from, and through, the independent sector. I don’t expect Goldman Sachs to know that, but Deezer and UMG certainly do.”
The Executive Vice-President of the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance recently stated that a basic level, it would like to see the production, marketing, and distribution of any device which can be used to infringe intellectual property rights, made illegal. While that comment should be viewed in context, when taken literally that could