Dissecting The Digital Dollar

Learn more about Dissecting The Digital Dollar - and buy a copy of the book.
Dissecting The Digital Dollar

Dissecting The Digital Dollar is a series of reports, guides and tools produced by CMU for the UK’s Music Managers Forum.

Dissecting The Digital Dollar is designed to help artists and managers better understand the streaming business, and the impact the shift to streaming has had on the wider recorded music industry.

The growth of music streaming over the last decade or so has dramatically changed the business of recorded music. Instead of sharing in the proceeds of a physical or digital sale, music-makers and rights holders are now participating in new commercial models based on revenue share and micro-payments.


‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ explains how the streaming business works, how the music industry has licensed the digital platforms and how digital royalties flow through the system.

The book also provides a concise overview of how music copyright works, including record and publishing contracts, as well as explaining the collective licensing system.

The initial launch of ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ by the MMF included a series of roundtables, involving artists, songwriters, labels, publishers, lawyers, accountants and managers, who had detailed discussions about key topics and issues raised in the first edition of the book.

A summary of these discussions – and an updated version of the original text, covering recent market trends and copyright reforms – were incorporated into the Third Edition of ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ when it was published in July 2020. This edition also included four Digital Dollar guides providing further insight on label deals, transparency, fan data and song royalty chains.

To buy a copy of the book from Amazon, click below:

Some comments on ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’…

TIM CLARK co-founder at ie: music
“The MMF’s ‘Dissecting The Digital’ project has been running a full five years and remains the most comprehensive overview of the streaming market and the place of artists and music-makers within it. As well as helping managers be informed to make better deals so their artists can benefit from fair shares of streaming income, it also outlines key areas where reforms are urgently needed. It is my most thumbed work of reference!"

LISA WARD evp artist strategy at Red Light Management
“The streaming ecosystem can often feel impenetrable in its complexity, but ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ offers an easy-to-read step-by-step guide to navigate how licensing works and where revenues flow. The book also highlights many of the dysfunctions in this market that are long overdue reform, particularly the often arcane distribution of songwriter royalties”.

DAVE CRONEN music industry specialist at Academy of Contemporary Music
“Teaching students and new entrants to the industry about streaming and its continuing impact on the music business is a challenge. This is an ever-evolving area, filled with nuance, complexity and opinion! What ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ does so well is to strip back those complexities and lift the lid on how money flows through the system. It’s a thought-provoking read and I strongly recommend it to anyone with an interest in music’s future and a full understanding of a key income stream”.

ROBERT HORSFALL partner at Sound Advice LLP
“Thank you and well done to the MMF and CMU for publishing these must read guides for managers and artists, and their business advisers. Their desire for transparency in the digital era sits alongside my desire for a simplification of industry contracts. True partnerships call for both, so as to engender trust and to enable the financial health of the creative community”.

CLIFF FLUET partner at Lewis Silkin
“‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ is so much more than a beginners guide – it goes deep into the intricacies of digital music, rights and revenues, and is an indispensable guide to the music industry in the streaming era”.

ERIK NIELSEN artist manager and music business lecturer at BIMM
“‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ is an invaluable guide for professionals at any level in the music industry. It cuts through the fog to explain in plain English how the modern streaming and digital economy and ecosystem works, from the services themselves to labels and distributors, and the types of deals involved. Most importantly, it highlights traps, hidden costs, and other complex processes and challenges that even seasoned managers and artists can overlook – and need to be aware of!”

CARLOTTA DE NINNI ceo at The Creative Passport
“‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ is a must-read publication. It enlightens you on the complexities and the challenges of digital licensing. Everyone working – or wanting to work – in our beloved music industry should know it by heart”.

RICHARD LIGHTMAN producer, composer, musician and sound designer
“With the success of music streaming services, the music business has become a confusing and challenging place for artists, producers and their managers. ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ opens up the mysteries of digital streaming royalties, how the income streams are apportioned and how to follow the money. This is a must have for any musician or music business operative. A real eye-opener!”

DAVE WIBBERLEY artist manager and head of management at LIPA
“As an artist manager, ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ has given me a much better understanding of the complexities and inherent unfairness in much of the digital streaming business, particularly as it impacts upon songwriters and their royalties”.

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