Music News

Universal Music Group and Deezer launch first ‘artist-centric’ streaming model

Universal Music Group and streaming platform Deezer have announced the launch of an ‘artist-centric streaming model’, designed to increase rewards for artists.

Deezer says it will launch the model in France in Q4 2023 with additional markets to follow. 

The two companies developed the new model in collaboration, using their respective data to create an economic model that better reflects the value of artist-fan relationships.

The companies say the collaboration is driven by their ‘recognition that the current music streaming model needs to be re-imagined’. They also cite the ‘flood of uploads with no meaningful engagement, including non-artist noise content’ as key reasons for the reassessment platforms, labels, and artists need take to foster a thriving music ecosystem.

As such, Deezer will attribute a double boost to what they define as “professional artists” – those who have a minimum of 1,000 streams per month by a minimum of 500 unique listeners – in order to more fairly reward them for the quality and engagement they bring to the platforms and fans.

The platform will also reward engaging content by additionally assigning a double boost for songs that fans actively engage with, reducing the economic influence of algorithmic programming. Furthermore, it will be demonetizing non-artist noise audio as it promises to replace non-artist noise content with its own content in the functional music space - this won’t be included in the royalty pool.

In addition, Deezer has pledged to tackle fraud by continuing to drive an updated, and stricter, proprietary fraud detection system, removing incentives for ‘bad actors’, and protecting streaming royalties for artists.

“This is the most ambitious change to the economic model since the creation of music streaming and a change that will support the creation of high-quality content in the years to come,” said Jeronimo Folgueira, CEO of Deezer. “At Deezer we always put music first, providing a high-quality experience for fans and championing fairness in the industry. We are now embracing a necessary change, to better reflect the value of each piece of content and eliminate all wrong incentives, to protect and support artists. There is no other industry where all content is valued the same, and it should be obvious to everyone that the sound of rain or a washing machine is not as valuable as a song from your favorite artist streamed in HiFi.”

“The goal of the artist centric model is to mitigate dynamics that risk drowning music in a sea of noise and to ensure we are better supporting and rewarding artists at all stages of their careers whether they have 1,000 fans or 100 thousand or 100 million,” said Michael Nash, UMG’s EVP and chief digital officer. “With this multi-faceted approach, music by artists that attracts and engages fans will receive weighting that better recognizes its value, and the fraud and gaming, which serves only to deprive artists their due compensation, will be aggressively addressed.

“Embracing the commonly shared objectives we highlighted at the outset of this chapter in our partnership, together we’ll maintain a flexible and adaptive approach. As the ever-evolving music landscape continues its rapid transformation, UMG and Deezer will rigorously address the impact of these changes as we incorporate new insights from data analysis, and fine-tune the model, as appropriate.”

Olivier Nusse, CEO of Universal Music France, added: “After extensive engagement with Deezer throughout 2023, we are very proud to be pioneers in France in the highly anticipated roll out of their version of the Artist Centric model. This comprehensive initiative will much more effectively value fan engagement and active streaming of music created by artists.”