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Is Passive Listening Worth Less ?

Deezer and Universal Music Group (UMG) have announced a new streaming model that will change how royalties are calculated and distributed. The model, which will be implemented in France in the fourth quarter of 2023, will give a “double boost” to artists and songs that drive fan engagement and loyalty, while reducing the influence of algorithmic recommendations that result in passive listening.

- Based on an article by Glenn Peoples on Billboard Pro, on Sept. 8, 2023

Deezer had been a precursor in the revenue-sharing model among DSP's by bring the User-centric model on its platform, as soon as 2021.

The new model aims to recognize the value of each piece of content and eliminate wrong incentives, such as fraud and gaming. It also intends to de-prioritize “non-artist noise content”, such as the sound of rain or a washing machine, which Deezer says accounts for about 2% of all streams. Instead, Deezer will replace this audio with its own functional music and exclude it from the royalty pool.

Deezer defines “professional artists” as those who have more than 1,000 streams per month from at least 500 unique listeners.

These artists will receive a double boost in royalties, as well as those who are listened to by new subscribers in their first month, which Deezer says may drive up to 30% of a user’s streams over the first two years. Similarly, songs that are actively searched for or added to playlists by users will also get a double boost, while songs that are played by algorithmic suggestions will get a lower rate.

Deezer and UMG claim that this artist-centric model will support the creation of high-quality content and connect music fans with their favorite artists. They also hope that this model will be adopted by other content owners and territories in the future.

To learn more about the new streaming model and how it will affect artists, labels and listeners, you can read the full article at


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