"Spotify and Co. have to raise prices"

IIn Great Britain, the debate about the effects of streaming and any changes to the framework conditions has already reached a parliamentary committee. In this country, the discussion is only gradually getting going. Of course, this is also because the matter is complicated, says Birte Wiemann, Chairwoman of the Association of Independent Music Companies (VUT), in which the smaller labels, publishers, distributors, but also independent artists are organized.

Sometimes representatives from the industry themselves do not make the task any easier: "The demand for one cent per stream that is circulating in the USA sounds catchy, but it only helps the matter to a limited extent because it suppresses the complexity of the system," says Wiemann in an interview with the FAZ After all, no service pays a fixed rate per stream “and in addition, implementing the requirement would probably overwhelm some streaming services financially”.

"Lack of transparency is currently the biggest problem"

How the distribution works in principle is not trivial, but no secret. All services pay around two-thirds of their revenue to rights holders on the music industry side. Around 80 percent of this goes to the side of the recording, 20 percent to the owners of the rights to the underlying texts and compositions. How much ultimately reaches performers and songwriters ultimately depends on their individual contracts with labels, publishers and distributors. Wiemann sees room for improvement in the way in which Spotify and Co. who make the payments: "From our point of view, a lack of transparency is currently the biggest problem," she says. “First of all, that has nothing to do with distributive justice.” First of all, everyone involved should be able to understand how the services actually calculate.

"Why does a label sometimes have three different monetizations for a song on a platform in one day?" asks Wiemann. As is well known, monthly fluctuations can be explained by the fact that various factors such as the subscriber base, the total number of streams in the respective markets and the proportion of their own songs are never the same. But different values ​​in one day could not be understood.

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