Universal Music Group (UMG) and Deezer have joined forces to introduce a new artist-centric streaming model.

This new artist-centric streaming model, set to launch initially in France in the fourth quarter of 2023, is a response to the current challenges faced by musicians in the digital age.

The existing streaming payment model, which pays artists based on their percentage share of streams, has come under scrutiny for disproportionately benefiting top-tier artists while leaving many others with meagre earnings.

The new artist-centric streaming model

UMG and Deezer‘s collaboration seeks to create an economic model that accurately reflects the value of the relationship between artists and their fans. Here are the key components of their artist-centric model:

  1. Focusing on Artists: Deezer will provide a significant boost to what they define as “professional artists,” those who accumulate a minimum of 1,000 streams per month from at least 500 unique listeners. This boost aims to reward artists who consistently engage their fans with high-quality music.
  2. Rewarding Engaging Content: The model will assign a double boost to songs that actively engage fans, reducing the influence of algorithmic programming. This means that tracks that resonate with listeners will receive higher compensation.
  3. Demonetizing Non-Artist Noise Audio: To address the issue of “noise audio” (e.g., recordings of natural sounds or other non-musical content), Deezer plans to replace such content with its own functional music, which will not contribute to the royalty pool. This move aims to eliminate low-effort content that generates royalties without offering artistic value.
  4. Tackling Fraud: Deezer will continue to enhance its proprietary fraud detection system to combat manipulation and fraudulent streams. This effort protects the integrity of streaming royalties, ensuring that artists are compensated fairly.

The vast expansion of digital music catalogues in recent years has led to an influx of content on streaming platforms. As part of the artist-centric model, Deezer intends to implement a stricter provider policy to maintain content quality and enhance the user experience. This policy includes measures to limit the upload of non-artistic content.

Jeronimo Folgueira, CEO of Deezer, emphasized the significance of this change, stating that it would “better reflect the value of each piece of content” and eliminate incorrect incentives, ultimately supporting and protecting artists.

Michael Nash, UMG’s EVP and Chief Digital Officer, highlighted the model’s goal: to ensure artists are rewarded and supported, regardless of their fan base size. Nash emphasized that this multifaceted approach would address issues such as noise content and fraud while adapting to the evolving music landscape.

This collaboration between UMG and Deezer represents a significant step toward a more equitable and artist-centric music streaming ecosystem, promising to benefit artists and enhance the overall music experience for fans.