AIM Head Silvia Montello Calls for ‘More Collaboration and Transparency’ On Deezer and Universal Music’s ‘Artist-Centric’ Model

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Association of Independent Music CEO Silvia Montello. Photo Credit: AIM

Following responses to Deezer and Universal Music’s “artist-centric” framework from Believe and IMPALA, Association of Independent Music (AIM) head Silvia Montello has expressed reservations with certain elements of the proposal and called for “more collaboration and transparency.”

The Association of Independent Music (AIM) reached out this morning with a statement from Montello, who’s served as the organization’s CEO since February. DMN previously covered in detail the so-called “artist-centric” model disclosed by Deezer and the major label, which has for several months been coordinating with various platforms on related initiatives.

In brief, according to the information provided by UMG and Paris-based Deezer, the latter will begin to demonetize non-music uploads, bolster its fraud-detection system, and, most significantly, pay substantially higher royalties to acts with over 1,000 monthly streams from at least 500 unique listeners.

“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 involved companies spelled out, also highlighting a separate “double boost” attached to “songs that fans actively engage with.”

Denis Ladegaillerie, founder and CEO of Paris-headquartered Believe, promptly took aim at the perceived attempt to enable “top artists to take away revenue from emerging acts” – with the same release acknowledging the possibility that the mentioned thresholds could be increased down the line.

And IMPALA, for its part, expressed concerns with the way the model had been developed (“in a vacuum with the market leader instead of the sector generally”) and the potential for “a possible two-tier approach impacting the work of independent labels.”

Now, with the retooled framework slated to go live in France sometime next quarter, Association of Independent Music CEO Silvia Montello has issued a response of her own.

“AIM welcomes efforts to review the current streaming economics model,” communicated Montello. “But whilst there are many positives to takeaway, including Deezer’s continued intention to combat streaming fraud, boosting royalties for artists who meet certain consumption thresholds could encourage a ‘two-tier system’ that would disadvantage those navigating the first steps of their careers or working within emerging genres.

“Considering these proposals were agreed without industry consultation, more collaboration and transparency around modelling is needed to ensure they work for rightsholders operating at all levels of the business,” she concluded.

Worth noting in conclusion is that Deezer’s far-reaching Universal Music partnership has arrived as the Access Industries-owned streaming platform is continuing to work towards highly ambitious revenue goals.

But amid stiff competition from the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and Tidal, Deezer, which is set to unveil its Q3 financials on October 26th, turned in a less-than-ideal performance during H1.