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Global Music revenues rise while songwriters find it difficult to maintain a livelihood

by Spanish Point - Oct 4, 2019
Global Music revenues rise while songwriters find it difficult to maintain a livelihood

Increases in music revenues are not being reflected in the paycheques received by artists and songwriters. This is a result of bad music metadata and low rates of pay per stream. By improving their matching CMOs (Collective Management Organisations) can promote sustainable careers in the music industry.

Global music revenues have risen. This is largely as a result of the success of streaming. Even in the first 6 months of 2019, streaming in the US grew by 26 per cent. However, songwriters tell us that this increased industry revenue is not being reflected in their royalty cheques. Despite the rise in revenues, artists are reporting paycheques akin to minimum wage.

In a recent article, songwriters spoke about the fact that despite revenue growth due to streaming, they struggle to maintain a career in music. They stated that if your songs are not consistently in the charts, it is difficult to make a substantial income. PRS for Music, the UK’s leading collection society, shared that streaming has made it more difficult to track royalties for artists and it is being reflected in artists’ royalty payments. It is becoming more and more difficult to make a living from music creation. PRS for music estimate that of their membership, less than 20% of songwriters are making a living from music.

The role of music matching is becoming more challenging as music merges with other media. Gaming is growing to become the world’s dominant media and is heavily integrated with music, for example in Twitch Streams. The music is not the feature, however, it is present in the background and therefore royalties should be paid to the artist. PRS for Music shared that music is not yet licenced for this. With music continuing to integrate into other media such as social media, gaming and beyond, CMOs will have to match data from many of sources.

People are listening to more music, due to the access provided by streaming. Upon reviewing an artist’s profile on Spotify with thousands of streams, a listener would assume that the songwriter is earning a steady revenue, however, this is not the case. Considering how much artists are paid per stream, the increased audience may not translate into significant revenues. Across streaming platforms, artists only earn fractions of cents per stream. For example, Spotify rates range from $0.003 to $0.0064 per stream. With such low earnings per stream, it is imperative that all of an artist’s streaming records are matched.


As highlighted throughout the music industry media, bad music metadata is the main cause of low artists payments. Often errors due to human data input or a mismatch of data format result in vital payments being lost out, and it is the songwriters and artists that are paying. Challenges face CMOs trying to accurately track music streams on behalf of artists such as music integration into new platforms and the prevalence of bad music metadata. It is the duty of CMOs to ensure their members receive their due royalties, to preserve careers within music creation. We are set to lose a creative art if royalty tracking is not improved. The Music Matching Engine is being used by innovative CMOs to make a difference for artists. The high performance cloud based application allows the accurate and efficient matching of music streaming data . Talk to our music matching team today about your system to learn how it can work better for your members and the industry as a whole.