Key takeaways from the Saturday, Feb. 1 panel discussion “Streaming: A Sustainable Platform for Artists?” As well, you can stream the panel in full below.
MUSIC DISCOVERY IS KEY TO THE FUTURE OF STREAMING SERVICES
Axel Dauchez, CEO, Deezer: “Streaming services will become a major distribution system and a major revenue driver in any given country. That comes with a responsibility to generate discovery. To get people to try new songs, new albums, new artists. If we don’t crack this discovery process then streaming will not be compatible will financing healthy creation… We need to make a deal with our subscribers, which is that if you pay €10 it’s not only for a jukebox, but it’s for a service that will change you. [That it’s a service] that will extend your musical scope; will generate new artists and new albums. If we do that, it’s the best model forever.”
Brian Message, Chairman, Music Managers Forum (MMF) and co-manager of Radiohead: “Discovery has to be something that we all collectively focus on. It’s needs to be intuitive and it needs to be creative and it needs to be inspirational. Algorithms are going to pay a good part in that. But we all need to work really hard on discovery because that’s the little bit that’s going to create a lot of value for fans and consumers. Otherwise it becomes a very low margin business."
THE STREAMING REVENUE DEBATE
Thorsten Schliesche, SVP & General Manager Europe, Napster: “To be completely honest I am getting a little bit tired of this discussion… We share around 70% to 75% of our revenues with the music industry. I think by far that this is enough of the [revenue] share that we can provide. And it is probably too much because we have to invest a lot of money into research and development, building apps, building functionality... That’s my personal feeling. On the other side, if we have the same discussion in twenty years I bet that every artist sitting around here has earned more money for [their] album by streaming [services] than by selling records. We are talking about a long term business model and not a short term investment.”
LOOK FURTHER THAN THE IMMEDIATE RETURN
Brian Message: “It all depends on what your objectives are with your artist. It can be very different for brand new acts versus a more established artist. A case in point is when I sat down with Nick Cave two years ago to start working out what we were going to do about his next touring and album cycle. Streaming was a really useful tool because he didn’t want to do any promotion. We put streaming right at the forefront of everything that he did ….. And that worked really, really well. … [Streaming services] may not necessarily be the monetizing thing that they will become once we get to some level of scale. But it is crucially important in that artist fan engagement process."
SINK OR SWIM, ARTISTS AND STREAMING SERVICES ARE IN THIS TOGETHER
Eddy Maroun, co-founder & CEO, Anghami: “Let’s always remember that streaming services are here because there is something that’s called piracy. If there was no piracy there would be no streaming services. We are trying to help and empower the industry, but things need time to get established and to reach where we want to be. After all, [streaming services] and artists are in the same boat. If we succeed we are both successful. If we fail we both fail.”
THE NEED FOR GREATER TRANSPARENCY BETWEEN RIGHTS HOLDERS AND TECH COMPANIES
Brian Message: “I think for everybody within the chain, whether that’s a label, an artist, a manager or a streaming service itself, we have to get to a point where everybody trusts and understands the revenue stream and the revenue flow. Otherwise we are going to dampen the opportunities that are available to us now. This is a volume game and we need to bring everyone with us, and that non-disclosure culture that sometimes fits between rights holders and technology companies is something that we need to gently move on from."