Deezer Eyes France Launch of 'User-Centric' System of Divvying Up Royalties

Courtesy of Deezer


Paris-based streaming service Deezer, which boasts of 14 million active users, is pushing ahead with a pilot plan that would reconfigure how it pays artists. The company on Wednesday launched a new initiative to educate music fans of what it calls a user-centric payment system (UCPS) that it believes could "make the industry fairer for artists all over the world."

The initiative would move away from the current market share-based system of distributing royalties in favor of one based on a more direct approach, tying payments to what users are actually listening to.

Deezer hopes to launch UCPS in France in early 2020, depending on whether it can reach a consensus with rights holders. A spokesperson told Billboard that it hopes to activate in other markets later.

"Some labels love it, some labels hate it, some labels change their minds and some labels have divisions within them," said Alexander Holland, the firm’s chief content and strategy office, at an event last week, according to Music Week.

The company signaled that implementing a UCPS in France could result in a 10% reduction in revenues to top streaming artists, but a 30% increase for smaller acts who used to miniscule royalty statements.

“Streaming has been the main innovation driver in the music industry for many years now,” Holland said in a statement. “Digital technologies and data make it easier than ever to make sure that all artists and content creations have a fair playing field. A user-centric approach is the next logical step and would mean that fans directly support the acts they love."

Holland added that "getting rid of bot fraud is a welcome added bonus and would make sure that your subscription money goes where it’s supposed to -- the acts you love."

Deezer has launched a website to get the word out on this new royalty distribution model. If you’re a premium subscriber, there’s a tool demonstrating how much of their individual subscription revenue goes to the artists they actually listen to, and how a UCPS would alter that.