Improve transparency surrounding music royalties

Improve transparency surrounding music royalties

434 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
Petition to
Spotify and

Why this petition matters

Started by Stephen Carney

Independent and signed artists are in the same predicament, we simply do not know how much, or how little, we are earning.

Digital Service Providers such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer,l and Tidal keep royalty rates close to their chests. Such information is not divulged and must be worked out by third parties. This does fluctuate based upon the income of the service in a nation, how many streams are used on the service and how much of that was made up by your music. 

When it comes time to distribute royalties, these numbers are sent to the distributors (record labels or Independent distributors such as Distrokid, CDBaby and Tunecore). Only once this is done, do the distributors tell the artist of their royalty income.

This method is fraught with possible issues.

How can we tell if the service provider paid out royalties correctly? How do we know the distributors or labels collected the full amount? How do we know the distributors or labels are accurately paying us the full amount? This whole process is a fraudsters wet dream! There is so much hidden, with not a single service relaying adequate information that it is impossible to see if anyone is cheating the system and the artist out of their earnings.

A solution?

Why not, on the secure artists page ( and for example), can services not also provide their latest royalty payment as a PDF or text file to view and/or download? Artists can then review it themselves rather than relying upon the honesty of everyone within the chain.

A table with average stream royalty rates per country that updates weekly or monthly would also be a huge boon. With a disclaimer to explain its "average", I can only see this helping artists get a better grasp of it all.

When it comes to financial transactions, the world tracks, traces and is fully transparent to be legally compliant with various financial conduct authorities. Why is this not the case for music royalties? Why is the music industry so scared to be open? Who will be the first to take the step towards accountability and transparency? Who will be the first to protect artists?

434 have signed. Let’s get to 500!