By Mauro Orru and Cecilia Butini 
 

Universal Music Group is partnering with France-based streaming company Deezer to roll out a new streaming model aimed at better rewarding established artists, a move the companies say is necessary to tackle a flood of uploads on the Deezer platform with no meaningful engagement from listeners.

The record label behind the Weeknd, Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift said Wednesday that the new model would launch in France in the fourth quarter ahead of its rollout in additional markets. Deezer will boost the value of streamed content by artists who have at least 1,000 streams per month by a minimum of 500 unique listeners, while demonetizing what it called non-artist noise content that makes up roughly 2% of streams on its platform.

"We are now embracing a necessary change, to better reflect the value of each piece of content and eliminate all wrong incentives, to protect and support artists," said Deezer Chief Executive Jeronimo Folgueira. Deezer's catalog grew from 90 million to more than 200 million pieces of content in the last two years.

Universal said that while streaming has been the most significant technological advancement the music industry had seen in recent years, many platforms have been inundated with a flurry of uploads with no meaningful engagement that can be detrimental to established artists.

Deezer's data showed that content clutter is impeding the discovery of artists by fans, noting that 97% of all uploaders on the Deezer platform generated only 2% of total streams, while just 2% of uploaders had more than 1,000 monthly unique listeners.

The partnership will clearly tip the balance in favor of larger, established artists, Citi analysts wrote in a note to clients. "In our view, this should be very helpful in terms of UMG's share of royalty payments from Deezer, however Deezer is a small player in the global context, so this is unlikely to materially move the needle," they said.

In 2014, Taylor Swift's entire music catalog was temporarily yanked from the Spotify Technology streaming service after the pop star's record label asked Spotify to make her music available to its paying subscribers only, and not to the users of Spotify's free, ad-supported tier. Spotify declined the request.

 

Write to Mauro Orru at mauro.orru@wsj.com and Cecilia Butini at cecilia.butini@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 06, 2023 05:53 ET (09:53 GMT)

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