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In Italy Spotify paid 126 million in royalties in 2023. But can you live off music?

Is it a good time for Italian music? For data released by Spotify, in the first Italian edition of the Loud&Clear report, it is. From 2017 to 2023, the royalty pool distributed between record companies, rights collecting societies and artists grew by 400%, with 126 million euros paid by the platform last year. Not only. Italians are very popular abroad: half of Italian artists' revenues come from listeners outside the country. Among the most listened to abroad, i Måneskin, Antonio Vivaldiand there is no shortage of them Andrea Bocelli And Baby Gang.

After all, the Italian record market is the third in the European Unionwith growth in 2023 of 18.8%, a turnover of 440 million euros and, in fact, streaming now occupies a 65% share of the overall market, according to Fimi data.

And the artists?

Whether artists fare as well, however, is more unclear. Spotify's explicit mission is “to unleash the potential of human creativity, giving one million creators and artists the chance to live from their art and billions of fans the chance to enjoy and be inspired by it.” Again for the Loud&Clear report, they are more than 1,200 Italian artists have earned at least 10 thousand euros in royalties (to which the more or less in line revenues of the other platforms should also be added).

A fact that for Giordano Sangiorgipresident of the trade association AudioCoop and organizer of the Independent Labels Meeting is not so brilliant: «Ten thousand euros is a figure that must be shared with the entire production chaincreative and artistic of the song, does not go to a single. It does not allow the artist to live from his work of ingenuity.” With a large dispersion: «More than 1,200 artists receiving this income with 120 thousand songs that are placed on the platforms every day means that we have the 90% who get nothingbut it still helps generate revenue for the platforms, with advertising and so on.”

Question of transparency

The aim of these analyzes is to increase the transparency of the company which has been attacked several times on the issue of royalties to artists (“Already the music is almost completely free, because you should know that the streaming platforms pay us shit. They give us nothing” , he wrote Psalm in an Instagram story in February).

The past year was basically a year in which eyes remained focused on the behavior of streaming platforms in entertainment: Hollywood remained paralyzed for months due to the joint strike of actors and screenwriterswhich asked among other things for an increase in residual rights, paid when a series or film is uploaded online, and whose calculation was unclear (Netflix, Disney, Amazon do not release audience figures).

As for the musical world, a study commissioned by the European Parliament found that less than 10% of listening revenue comes to artists. This doesn't depend entirely on the platforms: the percentages are set by the individual contracts that the talent stipulates with the record company. What concerns the platforms is the monetization method: at the moment, Spotify distributes the earnings (which comes from Premium subscriptions and advertising, and net of taxes, bank commissions and so on) to the rights holder based on the share of listeners .

Monetization models

The European Parliament approved a non-binding resolution on the matter in January, calling for a legal framework for the sector, which is not regulated at community level. One possibility mentioned in the study is a model UCPS (User Centric Payment System), i.e. focused on the user's tastes: the revenues that arrive from the single's listening should be divided among its actual streams. Spotify has joined the other platforms of Digital Music Europe (Deezer, Soundcloud and so on) in commenting: «European music is thriving thanks to fans who love local music and continue to choose to listen to it. This is why we strongly contest the report's suggestion of regulation in the sector, and we ask legislators to do so an in-depth analysis of diversity and artistic success in streaming to obtain objective facts before taking any action,” said Olivia Regnier, president of Dme. Meanwhile, a monetization cap went into effect in January: content that does not reach 1,000 streams does not accrue royalties.

The other data

As for the two Ds of Spotify (Diversity and Discovery): the report reports a growth in listening to female artists 18% compared to last year. And in general, the possibility of being discovered has increased for artists via playlistswith more than 5,000 Italian artists included in Spotify's editorial playlists.

Source: Vanity Fair

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