May 22, 2023
IMPALA, the Independent Music Companies Association, says that following a month-long review process launched on the two-year anniversary of its ten-point streaming plan, it has issued a new call to action. Building on IMPALA’s initial recommendations to make streaming fairer and provide a dynamic, compelling, and responsible future for creators and fans, IMPALA’s new call is based on three key themes:
- getting more money into the market and making sure there is no dilution of revenues;
- changing how revenue is shared; and
- boosting diversity, transparency and climate action.
IMPALA explains that in the two years since it published its plan, streaming has continued to be the centre of insistent calls for reform and many of the recent proposals echo IMPALA’s original analysis.
IMPALA says that labels are finding themselves ever more central to the digital market and more crucial to artists. Despite this, the most expansive recent market assessments show that the revenue share of master rights in their core business has been steadily eroded.
Further, IMPALA says, despite an increase in revenues, the European recorded market is at only 42% of turn of the century levels when adjusted for inflation. In IMPALA’s view, the absence of any substantial change on subscription prices in 15 years is striking. Revenues for artists and labels are diluted by factors such as streaming manipulation, non-music content and AI driven music. IMPALA also flags safe harbour and other value gaps as issues, as well as the need to maximise revenues from businesses focussed on very short music clips.
IMPALA’s proposals lead with a call to grow the overall market, including through increasing subscription prices, stepping up conversion from freemium, and addressing dilution. Mark Kitcatt, IMPALA’s President and Chair of IMPALA’s streaming working group, said: “We need to increase the economic value of music as a priority, and reset the conditions in terms of allocation models. That is how we can grow a fair and diverse market. Start with adjusting the basic offer to reflect the pressures of inflation, and then move on up. No two music fans share the exact same passions and needs – the possibilities of tailored subscriptions are endless. But concentration in the streaming market means that the efforts of the small number of multinational companies who dominate that market are limited to making the same model, ever cheaper. Fans and artists deserve much more.”
IMPALA also calls for the share for labels in the streaming market to be increased, so that they can pay a modern contemporary digital royalty rate. It opposes calls for equitable remuneration. IMPALA’s recommendations also emphasise the need to apply new models to how revenue is allocated. This includes the AIM artist growth model, as well as proposals based on how active fans are and opportunities to maximise revenue depending on fan participation.
Finally, IMPALA has set out proposals designed to boost diversity and transparency, as well as enhance climate engagement. In its conclusions, IMPALA calls for new metrics and targets. To read IMPALA’s press release in full, click here.