A music distribution company is campaigning for Pacific musicians to get their money’s worth after they found out that a lot of artists were losing out on streaming revenue.
Precise Digital chief executive Michael Giles estimated Pacific musicians were losing out on thousands of dollars of royalties.
Artists’ receive, on average, a small fraction of a cent for each time one of their songs is streamed on a major platform if they meet the requirements.
For YouTube, the minimum requirement for monetisation is a platform of 1000 subscribers and more than 4000 hours of watch time on public videos within the last 12 months.
* As Neil Young boycotts Spotify, local artists struggle to earn royalties from platform
* Pacific Music Awards: Jawsh685 scoops three awards for hit ‘Savage Love’
* Streaming woes compound existing inequities for recording artists
Giles said the biggest issue was that many were unaware of this, and that they could make money from streaming.
He was working with Samoa musician Josh Mase to correct this, and had signed up more than 100 artists to help them get paid what they’re due.
Some of their clients include big names in the Pacific music scene like George Fiji Veikoso, the late Daniel Rae Costello, Tomorrow People and Samoan gospel group, Katinas.
“The whole music world is very fascinating but its very complicated, especially with how it’s evolved now. There’s a step away from CDs and records, most things are on streaming platforms,” Giles said.
Mase, the lead guitarist for Three Houses Down, said a lot of Pacific artists worked independently and put their own work up without knowing they could make money out of it.
When they started reaching out to Pacific artists, one of their big hurdles was convincing them they weren’t being scammed.
They found artists were being taken advantage of, their work uploaded by other people who were capitalising on it.
“Even a lot of big names are being scammed, screwed over or not getting paid, even in the Pacific space.
“In time, we will get the rest of it, but we’ve already got a good chunk of these artists finally getting their royalties. We’re slowly building up these catalogues.”
Another challenge was making sure artists kept their original music.
Mase said a good example was Pacific music legend Costello, from Fiji, who recorded on CDs and tapes, and was losing out on streaming royalties.
“We had to track down a lady in France who had every single Danny Rae album, it took us a year to track her down. We were able to complete his catalogue online and direct his royalties to his family.”
Mase said most of their artists make money out of remixes to their original songs.
“They didn’t like that people were remixing their songs, but it was about changing the mentality, because they could still make money out of it,” he said.
“Anyone else that remixes their content, no matter how many times, the artist still gets paid for that.”
Giles said they wanted artists to focus on making music, while they handled the rest and educating them along the way on ways they can optimise viewership and revenue. In return, Precise Digital took a percentage of the artists’ revenue.
“The perception is shifting that there is money in streaming. There is more money in the music industry now than ever, it’s been turning over profit every year. Now is probably the best time to be an artist.”
© 2022 Stuff Limited