Business News Education & Events Labels & Publishers The Great Escape 2015

Digital pie debate in the spotlight at this year’s Great Escape

By | Published on Wednesday 25 March 2015

Vick Bain

The spotlight will fall at The Great Escape this year (metaphorically speaking, no hard hats required) on one of the biggest music industry debates of the moment: the division of streaming revenues between each of the stakeholders in music.

While artists have long griped about the cut they receive of digital income, of late it has been the publishers and songwriters who have become most vocal about the division of the ‘digital pie’, with many questioning why the owners of sound recording rights routinely receive four or five times more in streaming royalties than those who control song rights.

For their part, labels generally insist that they continue to take most of the risk in launching new artists and distributing new music, that actually the other stakeholders are now getting a bigger cut of the income than they did in the CD age, and current concerns over low royalty cheques will be addressed once streaming revenues reach their true potential.

At The Great Escape, Vick Bain – CEO of the British Academy Of Songwriters, Composers & Authors – will lead this discussion, explaining why the songwriting community believes the current system is unsustainable. BASCA, of course, recently launched a campaign to highlight current songwriter concerns – the previously reported Day The Music Died initiative – with this issue at its heart.

Representatives from across the music community will also join the debate, ensuring all sides of the argument are heard, before the panel considers how current dissent can be addressed when labels and publishers license digital service providers separately, and every artist and songwriter’s record and publishing contract is different.

The digital pie debate will unfold as part of the full day CMU Insights strand ‘Music Licensing: Explained At Last!’ – the second of the four CMU conference strands taking place at The Great Escape this year to be fully revealed. Presented in association with PPL, and providing key facts and figures, insider knowledge and lively discussion, this strand, hosted by CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke, will explain once and for all how music services of all kinds are being licensed, and what is happening to the money generated.

Other highlights of the full-day strand include…

• A beginners guide to music copyright – everything you need to know in one hour!

• Expert insights on where the money is being generated. IFPI’s Alex Jacob will guide us through the label group’s global record industry stats. PPL’s Camilla Waite will explore the growth of neighbouring rights income and the increased importance of SoundExchange in the US. And Media Insight Consulting’s Chris Carey will shed light on CISAC’s data on music publishing worldwide.

• A user-friendly explanation of how streaming platforms are licensed by both labels and publishers, and how the money is the divvied up, including input from Believe Digital’s Lee Morrison and Clinton’s Tom Fredericke.

• An exploration of the data challenges faced by the music rights sector. The data is out there, but how do we find it? CMU’s Chris Cooke and CI’s Kieron Faller will lead the debate.

‘Music Licensing: Explained At Last’ is one of four full-day conference strands presented as part of CMU Insights @ The Great Escape this May. More details about the strand can be found here, and you can read more about the other strand already announced – ‘Music Marketing Is Broken: Let’s Fix It’ – here.

And look out for details very soon about the other two strands: ‘How To Sell Out Gracefully: Better Brand Partnerships’ and ‘What’s The Point Of A Record Label Anyway?’

Delegate passes that get you access to the whole Great Escape festival and convention are still available – for a limited time – at the saver rate of £175. Click here to secure your pass.