Document Type

Blog Post

Publication Date


Graduation Year



The music industry landscape was forever changed when it implemented the streaming model. While digital service providers (“DSP”) like Spotify or Apple Music essentially saved the industry from music piracy, the royalty distribution method of these companies has been a major disappointment for songwriters and musicians. Despite providing consistent revenue, most of the revenue earned by DSPs is not shared with musicians. For instance, Spotify retains 30% of every dollar it generates, paying the remaining 70% back to rightsholders as royalties, with 55% of revenue towards record labels and 15% to publishing companies. Despite songwriters and recording artists’ significant contributions and importance to the music industry, they have long suffered an inequitable royalty rate distribution system, which has spurred various hard-fought, costly legal battles between digital service providers, and musicians and their representation.

This post was originally published on the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution website on November 9, 2023. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.