Music royalties are a topic of hot discussion: whether it be Taylor Swift’s record deal, serving as a leg up for all the artists on her label, or the Music Modernization Act, aimed to update laws and payout for writers and musicians alike in the streaming era.
Most of the time, the debate around music royalties focuses on how much artists are paid and when they are paid. This can cause issues with paydays tenfold.
When brand new, unsigned artists make a hit, they can land a hot record deal with a huge check with the promise of future albums, often called a label advance. These record deals are big gambles by record labels, and thus, only go to a few artists annually, that are a sure bet. Artists who receive a label advance whose album doesn’t make enough money to cover the advance usually has to pay the sum back to the label after a certain amount of time has passed. More issues ensue.
A Swedish startup called Amuse is aiming to revolutionize music royalties as the music industry knows it. The program proposed is “Fast Forward” and it uses machine learning to predict an artist or band’s future earnings in the next six months.
According to Amuse and Rolling Stones, “the system can automatically analyze more than 27 billion pieces of data, such as streams of an artist’s latest album, to figure out an individual’s future royalties. Artists who use Fast Forward will be able to view and withdraw those future royalties from the Amuse app directly.”
The application will roll out this Spring, and will double as a means for labels to find viable artists to sign, as artists can upload tracks that may be predicted to perform well, garnering contract interest.
While this may not be an instantaneous worldwide solution for music royalties, it’s definitely a step in the right direction for artists to get paid.