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Deezer’s New ‘Artist Centric’ Model

Deezer is shaking things up with how it pays artists by adapting what they’re calling an ‘artist centric’ model. This model has some controversy because it comes from the CEO of Universal Music Group Sir Lucian Grainge.

Here’s what they mean by ‘artist centric‘:

  1. Artists with over 1,000 streams per month from other 500 unique listeners on Deezer will get a 2X boost in their stream royalties on the service.
  2. Streams that are generated from fans actively searching for the song vs. being algorithmically served will generate an additional 2X boost in their stream royalties.
  3. Deezer is planning on replacing ‘non-artist noise content’ such as white noise and rain sounds with its own content, but not taking any royalties when users pay these tracks. This increases the overall royalty pool for everyone else.

The theory is that this will benefit ‘real’ artists the most, push out scammers, people milking money from the industry and people that don’t take music seriously.

It’s worth pointing out that this isn’t the same thing as a ‘user-centric’ royalty model. User centric models imply that money fans spend on their subscription only go to artists they actually listen to, and this isn’t mentioned here in this system at all.

What I Don’t Like

I’m not a fan of them adding a threshold of 1,000 streams per month from 500 unique listeners to make 2X royalties. What is stopping them from raising that to 1,000,000 streams per month, and only major label artists are making a 2X royalty multiplier? Who decides where this line is?

However, on the flip side if they keep it as a low barrier to entry it could actually function to weed out casual artists from serious artists. The impact is that serious artists make more money. Remember, YouTube itself has requirements before people can make any money on the platform.

What I Do Like

I think that it makes sense for streams to be worth more from active sources than algorithmic sources. If you’re spending money, time and effort driving fans to a streaming platform you should be rewarded more than artists that rely mostly on algorithmic exposure.

Active Streams

Imagine this: you run an ad sending people to stream your song. After they listen to your song, another song is algorithmically served by a different artist. You just caused that other artist to get a stream, and they got just as much money for that stream as you did despite the fact they didn’t pay anything to cause that stream.

Paying more for active sources rewards those that drive people to the platform. Driving people to the platform helps not only the main artist promoting their music, but every other artist on the platform. So personally, I like it. But some people disagree with me.

Non-Music Noise Content

I’m also a huge fan of them getting rid of the low quality non-music noise content. This means white noise, rain sounds and other non-music audio. While I do know some people that make great money from this, its always been a grey area that really is designed to extract as much money from the platform instead about making art.

I hope that some experimental artists don’t get caught in the crossfire though. There are some genuine real artists who might some like noise to the average person, but to their fans they make beautiful compositions.

Bots & Fraud

Deezer also mentioned that they’re going to take a stronger stance on bots and streaming fraud. They were pretty brief about this but i’m incredibly happy to hear them mention that. Spotify has a massive streaming fraud and bot problem but it seems like they refuse to acknowledge it. We’ll see what Deezer actually does, but its great its on their radar.

If you want to watch my video on the topic, click here.

Deezer Artist Centric Royalties


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