German Music Publishers Call on Streaming Services to Pay 'Fair Share' to Rights Holders

"The boom in streaming services such as Spotify, Napster and Deezer cannot hide the fact that the amounts which artists receive from them are far too small and a long way from being reasonable. The 60,000 composers, lyricists and music publishers must not be sacrificed on the altar of digital music," Dr. Rolf Budde, the president of the German Music Publishers Association (DMV), said on Wednesday at the Association's annual meeting in Wiesbaden.

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He went on to say that the publishers were worried by the fact that composers and lyricists were earning only paltry amounts with their music from streaming services via collection society GEMA, whereas the record companies with their monopoly on hits were raking in large amounts. He added that this reflected a lack of respect for the creative contribution made by the composers, lyricists and music publishers.

"It is high time that streaming services with their 'gold rush' mentality stopped ignoring creative people and jeopardizing their livelihoods. The streaming services do not pay adequate compensation to the authors and publishers via GEMA. The streaming services and the record companies must give authors and music publishers a fair share of the revenues once and for all. He said that the revenue currently being generated fell far short of the volume of utilization and the compensation achieved for copyright holders in this segment. The payment models are not giving enough to copyright holders," said Budde.

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He went on to say that German music publishers would continue to fight to ensure that the streaming services and the record companies did not endanger the livelihoods of the authors and music publishers in the digital era, and thus destroy the internationally successful German music market. Budde welcomed the fact that GEMA was committed to ensuring that its members receive a fair share of the growing income being generated by online music so that it would be able to increase the resultant payouts accordingly.

Dr. Harald Heker, CEO of GEMA, said in a statement: "In the digital world, we are still a long way from ensuring fair remuneration for creative input. We therefore urgently need the economic and legal foundations for safeguarding and encouraging creativity."