German Publishers and Music Authors Call for Equal Streaming Pay

German music authors and publishers -- through the associations of composers (DKV), lyricists (DTV) and music publishers (DMV) -- released a dramatic joint appeal today (July 29), drawing attention to inadequate mini-licenses from streaming services, demanding a greater share in the (relatively) booming revenues of internet music services. The coalition is asking for a 50-50 split between labels and authors/publishers.

"A comparison shows that the earnings of labels in the ad-supported segment of Spotify are up to as much as eight times as high as the payments made to GEMA, which 61,000 copyright-owners and 4,700 music publishers are expected to be content with," Dr. Rolf Budde, president of the German Music Publishers' Association (DMV), tells Billboard. "This is absolutely disproportionate, and is unfair to the authors and publishers. For us the pricing per stream is dramatically low. For example, in order to match the value of a download for one song, it has to be streamed 25 times although it is the same production every time. This doesn't make sense."

CD-Loving Germany Sees 86 Percent Jump In Streaming, Sales Increase

According to the German music industry, the 15 largest streaming services, including Apple, Spotify, Deezer, Napster and Wimp, generated revenues in Germany of more than EUR 100 million in the first half of 2015 alone. 2.5 million Germans already make use of subscriptions for EUR 9 to 10 per month. Market researchers project 12 million streaming customers in Germany alone in three years' time. On the global market, the use of paid subscription services for music has increased by almost 40 percent and accounts for 23 percent of the digital market. In more than 37 countries in the world the share of streaming is already larger than that of downloads. 

In the appeal by the three associations they say: "It's high time this injustice and lack of fairness is stopped. We demand an immediate significant increase in the licenses so that the authors and publishers do not have to fear for their very survival on the basis of mini-cent amounts per stream. Our motto is: More transparency for music creators in streaming. It's time to put an end to the unfair mini-reimbursement of authors and music publishers."

Ralf Weigand, vice-president of the German Composers' Association (DKV) said in a statement: "The license earnings from streaming have reached the level of charity handouts to authors and music publishers. The mass use of streaming is really only profitable for the major companies. The creative people are fobbed off with micro-payments." 

Frank Dostal, president of the German Lyricists Alliance (DTV) tells Billboard "it's tragic that authors, artists and music publishers were naturally also interested in the success of streaming services as a great tool for fans to encounter music that they never knew. But this could not be at the expense of the creative artists. The music is what makes streaming the great success it is. It's therefore high time to give the creators of that music the share they deserve."