French music streaming service Deezer reveals they have deleted tens of millions of songs since launching their artist-centric model.

In September last year, Deezer launched their new artist-centric payment system with Universal Music Group. Much like the changes being rolled out on Spotify, combating low streams, non-musical content and artificial streams, the artist-centric model hopes to disincentive low-quality, AI-generated content, by directing increased royalties towards legitimate artists.

While most music streaming services operate a pro-rata payment system, paying users a portion of all subscription and advertising revenue, based on their share of streams across a given month, there are a number of ways an artist-centric model benefits some artists and users. This includes “professional artists”, defined as those earning a minimum of 1,000 streams per month and 500 unique listeners, receiving “doubled boosts” to royalty payments. When calculating streams over a given period, these artists get double the weight when distributing royalty payments. Tracks from artists that fans have actively searched for on Deezer are also eligible for a “double boost”.

In an earnings call from March last year, Deezer CEO Jeronimo Folgueira shared some of his concerns on the growing amount of content on the platform:

There’s a lot of content now getting uploaded to our platform every week, and that number keeps growing and growing and growing. There’s a lot of duplicated content, there’s a lot of content that is not even music… and at a certain point, you get way too much content that is useless for the users. And it starts creating a bad user experience.

Jeronimo Folgueira, CEO, Deezer

Folgueira, who is leaving the company at the end of the month, share the following in a subsequent:

We obviously need to deal with the issue of AI as a source of a massive amount of new music or new content creation. We want to give our customers a high-quality experience and relevant content, so obviously getting AI to flood our catalog is not something we’re super keen on, and we’re working on that.

Jeronimo Folgueira, CEO, Deezer

While we heard Deezer wanted to “reduce the amount of useless content that people are uploading to our platform” from an earnings call last month, we now have an idea of just how much content that requires cutting.

As revealed by Deezer to Music Business Worldwide, the streaming service has removed 26 million tracks since the introduction of the artist-centric model, in an attempt to improve the overall user experience. This includes noise, mono-track albums, fake artists and tracks that haven’t been listened to in the past year. Deezer said they had around 200 million pieces of content on the platform last year, so this number works out at around 13%.

The intention is to declutter the platform, focus on tracks that are valuable to our users and increase the market share for all artists who create this music. The tracks that have been removed include noise, mono-track albums [albums made of copies of a single track], fake artists and tracks that haven’t been listened to in the past 12 months.

Jeronimo Folgueira, CEO, Deezer

Despite this removal, Deezer says tracks uploaded continues to increase, with over 100,000 submission per day. Deezer has also stated they have not seen as much AI-generated content as they expected. Or perhaps it’s just getting harder to detect 👀

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