CMU Trends Briefing

CMU Trends Briefing: Digital Dollars

By | Last Updated: July 2019

Based on the ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ research CMU Insights has undertaken for the Music Managers Forum, this is a ten step briefing on how streaming services are licensed by the music industry and how digital royalties are calculated each month.

For a much more in-depth guide to how the streaming business works you should read the full ‘Digital Dollar’ book. You can also download a series of free ‘Digital Dollar’ guides covering topics like record deals, transparency, fan data and song royalties. CLICK HERE for more information.

1. There are two sets of music rights
Whenever you write a song you create a song copyright. If you then make a recording of that song, you create a separate recording copyright. So, the music rights industry controls and represents two sets of copyright, the song rights and the recording rights.

Although many artists both write and record music – and although many music companies have one division dealing in songs and another in recordings – the two sides of the music rights business operate pretty autonomously from each other.

So, artists appoint record companies to represent their recording rights, and music publishers to represent their song rights.

As a streaming service streams recordings of songs, it is exploiting both sets of music rights. Which means it needs licences covering both. Which means it will need to negotiate licensing deals with both the record industry and the music publishing sector.

Premium subscribers can access this briefing in full HERE