Label and artist payments

A critical difference between Resonate and other streaming services that have been built on closed-door deals is transparency.

The fact is, creators have been shut out from the negotiation process for far too long. Therefore we’re setting a new standard for accountability for all participants impacted by the use of their art within our platform.

We’re building a label and artists payment methodology where every process is direct and upfront. Not necessarily published in a public register, but completely open and transparent between artists and labels.

For all purchases and streams, Resonate takes a standard commission of 30%. The remaining 70% goes directly to independent artists + labels. And since we’re a cooperative, we also do year-end profit sharing with all stakeholders.

Additionally, the 70/30 split is a starting point. The goal of the project is to so dramatically reduce costs as to keep decreasing that percentage.

Simple tools for instant payouts are being built presently. (Minimums may be necessary depending on currency and other transaction costs.)

In the future, artists with record deals will have complete transparency regarding percentage agreements, built right in to their Resonate dashboard.

Currently both labels and artists can log in to verify their streaming revenues. If desired, Resonate can pay everyone direct. If a pre-existing label/artist agreement stipulates all funds go direct to the label, that’s fine. The point is that artists and labels are able to see the exact same data at all times. And they are always in control over what is published, with easy options to disable streams and hide content from the app.

Evolving into a truly Fair Trade Music system

The scenario above provides a pretty basic overview, imagining content with fairly clear-cut rights… musicians who write and record their own content, whether released independently or through a label.

Exploring a #fairtrademusic system for artists and labels. @resonatecoop Click to Tweet

Where things get more complicated is taking into consideration other variables… different writers, producers, engineers, session musicians, etc. Rules and percentages vary from country to country and change again based on usage – streaming versus downloading.

We plan to integrate options into the system whereby any participant on a recording will have the right to access data related to that track. This could be useful to verify accurate payments by third parties (like labels, distributors or collection societies) or for other purposes.

Resonate is collaborating with Fair Trade Music International to create accountable methodologies with the goal of becoming fully certified as a Fair Trade Music streaming service. This could be easily arranged within our administration system whereby an independent auditor could review plays and payment records for various parties. The auditor could log in as those users (in a view-only mode) to see statistics and then request the same data from the musicians and labels, providing dual verification for accuracy.

In the not-too-distant future these processes will exist on a blockchain to minimize the necessity for manual auditing, but until then, we are striving to embed fair trade methodologies into every aspect of our ecosystem.