Deezer And Universal Music Are Changing The Streaming Game

Deezer And Universal Music Are Changing The Streaming Game
Stéphane Renevier, CFA

3 months ago2 mins

What’s going on here?

Universal Music is rewriting the playbook of the streaming game in a new deal with Deezer.

What does this mean?

The way streaming money is paid out has been a source of frustration among music companies and musicians: current streaming models treat every play equally, whether it’s Taylor Swift or the chirping of crickets. And that system dilutes the earnings of major artists, while inadvertently boosting low-quality or even deceptive tracks. But here’s the twist: Universal is introducing a revamped model in collaboration with French streaming service Deezer. This doubles the weight that professional artists – those who clock up at least 1,000 listens a month – receive when calculating royalty payments. And if a listener actively searches for a specific artist or song, then that stream’s weight is doubled again. This isn’t a distant dream, either: Deezer’s set to adopt this approach in France come October, with a broader rollout planned for January.

Streaming growth
Source: IFPI Global Music Report 2023

Why should I care?

For you personally: Cleaner playlists, happier artists.

Say goodbye to elevator music and hello to better tunes. Universal’s new rules mean your playlist is about to get a quality upgrade – while funneling more of the $900 million currently spent on “noise” into the pockets of real artists.

The bigger picture: Never the same stream twice.

Universal Music is a veritable titan. With a vast music portfolio and stars like Drake and Taylor Swift on its roster, it's the royalty in music royalties. And as the music streaming sector gears up for projected revenues of $38 billion this year, Universal’s strategic move with Deezer could be just the beginning: after all, the firm’s already in talks with industry giants like Spotify and Tidal. If all goes according to Universal’s vision, then, it could set a new standard for how the game is played – and won.

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