Some independent labels have been public about their belief that artists should receive 50% of the income from streams of their music – and have structured deals accordingly. Many other labels have been… less public about their contracts, and how they divvy up direct streaming income – let alone any advances they take in from streaming services. Now a coalition of artists and managers – AMP – is hoping to get a 50/50 split made standard across the European Union. They’ve submitted a filing to the European Commission’s consultation on copyright calling for exactly this. AMP – which includes the Musicians’ Union, Music Managers’ Forum and Featured Artists Coalition from the UK – wants European legislators to get involved. The Guardian’s report points to a separate case in the US where 19 Recordings is suing Sony Music, including demanding that streams be counted (for royalty purposes) as transmissions or broadcasts, not ‘distribution’ or sales, which usually means a lower rate in contracts. All this ties into something we’ve been tracking for a while: the real tension around streaming royalties may not be between artists and Spotify etc, but between artists and their labels – IF their deals aren’t transparently structured.

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