Welcome to From the Desk of the President, a series of notes from A2IM CEO and President, Dr. Richard James Burgess. Today, we would like to call your attention to IMPALA’s ten-point plan for streaming.
It is increasingly apparent that streaming revenues are not meeting the needs of artists and labels. By adjusted dollars, 2020 U.S. recorded music revenues were barely more than half what they were two decades ago.
This situation is incompatible with developing or sustaining a strong, diverse artist community and yet we are now seeing the introduction of pay-for-play programs and proposals that reduce royalties in exchange for “promotion.” As we all know, the necessities of life cannot be purchased with promotion or exposure. The promise of streaming was that of a level playing field—democratized opportunity. These new programs introduce money as an influencing and distorting factor. Historically, such systems have not favored independent artists or labels.
Our sister trade association in Europe, IMPALA, has just issued this ten-point plan for streaming.
A2IM is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization headquartered in New York City that exists to support and strengthen the independent recorded music sector. Membership currently includes a broad coalition of more than 700 Independently-owned American music labels. A2IM represents these independently owned small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) interests in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community. In doing so, it supports a key segment of America’s creative class that represents America’s diverse musical cultural heritage. Billboard Magazine identified the Independent music label sector as 37.32 percent of the music industry’s U.S. recorded music sales market in 2016 based on copyright ownership, making Independent labels collectively the largest music industry sector.