Twitch may be catching most of the flak right now from music rightsholders, but questions around livestreams and licensing apply much further than the Amazon-owned company. One thing that would help rightsholders and collecting societies to figure out licensing is hard data on the songs being streamed, and how many people are hearing / watching them.

Enter British startup Blokur, which has published the results of a recent study it conducted with audio-recognition firm DJ Monitor. The study monitored 100 popular livestreams – DJ Soda and John Digweed are the two mentioned, so we’d surmise the emphasis was on DJ sets – identified the tracks, then used Blokur’s technology to match those recordings to publishing copyrights.

“In the 100 livestreams, we identified a combined more than 500 million views of our clients’ songs, split between around 30 of Blokur’s publisher clients,” wrote Blokur boss Phil Barry in his summary of the results. “And depending on the territory and the licensing arrangements, those views are worth tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to some of our clients. That’s money that otherwise would have made its way into the black box.”

Identifying the tracks and compositions and totting up the potential revenues is one thing, actually getting those royalties another, of course. But the fact that Blokur and DJ Monitor (and other companies, we’re sure: for example we wouldn’t be surprised to see Pex doing something in this space, given its past analyses of podcasts, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook) can get to this data is a useful start.

While we’re on this point, Midia Research has ventured an opinion on the Twitch controversy, warning music rightsholders against heavy-handed negotiations. “The current licensing structures are not flexible and agile enough to truly capitalise on user-generated content (UGC) music (a market which will be worth $4 billion by year end,” claimed Midia. “YouTube and Twitch represent an opportunity to create new growth drivers, especially for artists, that can help fix the ‘broken record’.”

The post comes on the back of Midia’s recent UGC music report. “Unless music rights holders want to cede the growth in the music UGC space (which will be worth $5.9 billion by end 2022) to library music companies, they need to put alternative approaches at the core of their licensing strategy, not simply pursue them as interesting ‘edge’ experiments,” it continued, before suggesting that rightsholders should support the “micro-communities” of these UGC platforms.

“Quite simply, rights holders have a model that works for them (streaming), so now they need to support a model that works for their creators so that they can in turn continue to support the streaming model that works for rights holders,” it concludes. Although one argument might be that with publishers still feeling short-changed by the streaming royalty splits, they have less of an incentive to go easy on the UGC platforms.

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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