A report has emerged putting into sharp focus the music industry and its revenue streams. Prepared by the British Phonographic Industry, the report assessed sources of revenue received by various artists in 2015 and the results were baffling. The artists’ promoters association noted the surging views of music videos on YouTube and other streaming platforms. In fact, the views on YouTube rose 84% hitting 26.9 billion in 2015. However, the surging views didn’t yield proportionate revenue to music artists. This is notwithstanding the fact that YouTube places ads on the videos therefore reaping big from the artists’ sweat.
The group noted that YouTube accounted for a paltry 0.4% increase in revenue for the musicians which stood at 24.4 million pounds. But on Vinyl, the group claimed artists received about 1 million pounds more. In a bid to lift the lid on the matter, online plays or streaming of music videos was compared with CD sales and downloads. 26.6 billion Online plays against 2.1 million LP sales are figures BPI couldn’t figure out.
Definitely, the report will deepen the misunderstanding between artists and streaming service providers. It is true streaming services give musicians global and larger audience. But the meager revenue received from that is something they can’t take any more. Since they are in talks with YouTube on renewing licenses, the concerns will certainly be real. Geoff Taylor, BPI’s CEO termed the industry “fundamentally broken” arguing that artists and labels that invest in music videos should benefit from increasing demand -- more so in YouTube.
But in a quick rejoinder, YouTube’s spokesperson said that streaming services should not be compared with audio-only and subscription services. He also elaborated measures YouTube has taken to combat piracy. According to YouTube, musicians have “complete” control of their music on the streaming service. As demand soars, YouTube hopes revenue will match consumption. This however will depend on the speed with which advertisers abandon traditional broadcast to online platforms. But the trend is in top gear. In the statement, YouTube disclosed that 50% of what they pay out comes from Content ID.
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