Deezer and Universal team up to produce new “artist-centric” streaming model

The new model aims to support professional artists and tackle non-musical content and fraud.

The Deezer logo on smartphone next to a pair of headphones

Image: Nikos Pekiaridis/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Universal Music Group and Deezer are teaming up to launch a new “artist-centric” music streaming loyalty model.

It’s designed to reward artists with established fanbases, stop fraud, and de-prioritise non-musical content, like white noise.

Deezer will double the payout per stream for “professional artists”, which it defines as those with 1000 or more streams per month from at least 500 unique listeners.

Songs that fans actively search for, as opposed to those played automatically through playlists or radio, will also get a bonus. This marks a change from the previous model, in which subscribers’ fees were divided between all artists in proportion to the number of streams they received.

The aims of these policies are to give more money to established artists, and tackle audio like white noise, which has become more popular on streaming platforms over the last few years with people using it while sleeping, working, or studying. Deezer will stop payouts for non-music content, and replace them with its own versions.

In a press release, Universal said: “The current music streaming model needs to be re-imagined. 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 reassessment of the approach that platforms, labels, and artists take to foster a thriving music ecosystem.

“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 favourite artist.”

While this new artist-centric model will be welcomed by many, however, and should stop bots, it may have a negative effect on musicians early in their career who are looking to gain a wider audience and earn a small amount of income from streaming at the same time.

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