Deezer to implement an artist-centric streaming model to better reward artists and music, while enhancing fan experience

Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, and Deezer, one of the largest independent music streaming platforms, have announced the launch of an artist-centric streaming model, designed to better reward the artists, and the music that fans value the most. Deezer will launch the model in France in the fourth quarter of 2023 with additional markets to follow.

The two companies developed the new model together as part of their previously announced collaboration, using their respective deep data analysis to develop an economic model that better reflects the true value of artist-fan relationships.

The collaboration to launch an artist-centric model is driven by the companies’ recognition that the current music streaming model needs to be reimagined. While streaming has been the most significant technology advancement in music in many years, a flood of uploads with no meaningful engagement, including non-artist noise content, has necessitated a reassessment of the approach that platforms, labels, and artists take to foster a thriving music ecosystem.

“This is the most ambitious change to the economic model since the creation of music streaming and a change that will support the creation of high-quality content in the years to come,” states Deezer CEO Jeronimo Folgueira. “At Deezer we always put music first, providing a high-quality experience for fans and championing fairness in the industry. We are now embracing a necessary change, to better reflect the value of each piece of content and eliminate all wrong incentives, to protect and support artists. There is no other industry where all content is valued the same, and it should be obvious to everyone that the sound of rain or a washing machine is not as valuable as a song from your favorite artist streamed in HiFi.”

“The goal of the artist-centric model is to mitigate dynamics that risk drowning music in a sea of noise and to ensure we are better supporting and rewarding artists at all stages of their careers whether they have 1000 fans or 100 thousand or 100 million. With this multi-faceted approach, music by artists that attracts and engages fans will receive weighting that better recognizes its value, and the fraud and gaming, which serves only to deprive artists their due compensation, will be aggressively addressed,” adds Michael Nash, UMG’s EVP and Chief Digital Officer.

He continues, “Embracing the commonly shared objectives we highlighted at the outset of this chapter in our partnership, together we’ll maintain a flexible and adaptive approach. As the ever-evolving music landscape continues its rapid transformation, UMG and Deezer will rigorously address the impact of these changes as we incorporate new insights from data analysis, and fine-tune the model, as appropriate.”

Based on Deezer’s in-depth data analysis the following key enhancements are being integrated into the new artist-centric model.

Deezer will attribute a double boost to what they define as “professional artists” – those who have a minimum of one thousand 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; Rewarding engaging content by additionally assigning a double boost for songs that fans actively engage with, reducing the economic influence of algorithmic programming; Deezer is planning to replace non-artist noise content with its own content in the functional music space, and this won’t be included in the royalty pool; and tackling fraud by continuing to drive an updated, and stricter, proprietary fraud detection system, removing incentives for bad actors, and protecting streaming royalties for artists.

Moreover, the size of the catalog available on digital platforms has exploded in recent years. Deezer’s catalog grew from 90 to over 200 million pieces of content in the past two years alone. As part of the artist-centric model, Deezer intends to apply a stricter provider policy to ensure quality and a better user experience. This includes steps to limit non-artist noise content.