The most curious aspect of the ‘Streaming: A Sustainable Platform for Artists?’ debate at Midem was how many of the questions swerved wide of that topic. Some views managed to break through, including manager Brian Message praising streaming’s role in the last album campaign for Nick Cave – “We put streaming right at the forefront of everything he did” – to Deezer CEO Axel Dauchez’ exhortation of the industry to put more welly behind discovery. “Investing in new artists is not a marketing tool: it’s an industry need… if 70% of the streams are done in the back catalogue, there will be no new creation.” Meanwhile, Napster’s Thorsten Schliesche hit back in the debate over artist payouts, suggesting that it’s streaming services who are hard done by in having to pay out 70% of their revenues to rightsholders. “We have to invest a lot of money into research and development,” he said. “This is some kind of intellectual property that is not completely honoured by the music industry, to be honest.” But Message brought things back to transparency: “We have to get to a point where everybody trusts and understands the revenue stream and revenue flow, otherwise we are going to dampen the opportunities that are available to us.”

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