Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship has released an in-depth study that promotes fairness and transparency in the music industry. "Fair Music: Transparency and Money Flows in the Music Industry,” the report studies the global music business and challenges within the current compensation structure.
Originating under BerkleeICE's Rethink Music initiative, a new study exposes inefficiencies and deliberate deception that result in millions of dollars going undistributed to rightful creators, backroom licensing deals and opaque royalty statements and accounting systems that are often impossible to interpret or verify. On average, the study found, creators and rights holder are underpaid by 20-50%.
The study advocates for a "Creator's Bill of Rights" that will include standards for ethical treatment of musicians, artists, and other creators and the adoption of:
- A "Fair Music" seal, similar to a fair trade certification, to encourage fair pay-out rates and protect creators
- A decentralized rights database, controlled by a nonprofit, that lowers the number of unclaimed royalty payments
- Blockchain technology, which powers Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, to manage and track online payments directly from fans to music creators
- Education initiatives for all music creators regarding their rights and the operations of the industry
"There's a revolution happening in the media business today, and in some ways the creative class has been a passive observer," said Panos Panay, founding managing director of BerkleeICE. "The matters addressed are critical for all creators, and even more so for the 4,500 students and 45,000 alumni of Berklee College of Music."
“The timing, findings, and recommendations of this report are important,” stated Brian Message, co-manager of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, PJ Harvey, and Radiohead. “Lawmakers both in Europe and North America should take note as they look to promote and foster the interests of creators in the digital age, shielding them from the practices of major rightsholder corporations who distort the music market for their own gain."
Read the full report free here.