The Covid-19 pandemic impacted all fields of work, some grew busier while others struggled to stay afloat. The Australian music industry is still finding its way out of the darkness and the Audoo Audio Meter Device is hoping to help. The innovative technology aims to ensure all artists are paid accurate royalties.
12th January 2023
Royalties are monetary payments given to artists when their music is used in alignment with copyright laws. While streaming services, such as Spotify, track how many times a track gets played, there is still a gap in the market that sees artists missing out on income.
As the industry continues to digitise, innovation is needed, which is where Audoo comes in. Originating in the United Kingdom, the device aims to change how music in venues and businesses is recorded, passing the records on so that payments accurately reflect play time.
Licensing body OneMusic has been helping with the rollout of the device to businesses in Australia, and a number of Canberra retailers and organisations have already signed on.
Drew Meads is the franchisee at Forty Winks Fyshwick, a non-executive director of Forty Winky Pty Ltd, and treasurer of the Australian Retailers Association. For him, the device just made sense. Mr Meads says he didn’t really look into the fine print or detail when he first signed up, just trusting it was the right thing to do.
“I think it’s really important that the right people get the revenue for the work they’ve put in. I know there’s a lot of retailers you walk into and they’ve either got the radio playing … [or] they’ve got a track plan that they don’t pay for,” he says.
Forty Winks in Fyshwick uses a few set playlists on Spotify that they rotate through; the lounge music, as Mr Meads calls it, helps people feel calm. He says the business already pays for a licensing subscription to keep the tunes filling the store, and the additional charge of setting up the device seemed like a no-brainer.
“It was really just to try and do the right thing to make sure the money goes to the right people,” he says.
Mr Meads encourages other businesses to sign up, saying that the more transparent things can be when it comes to issues like royalties, the better. He also says if the choice is between the production label taking all the money and it being distributed fairly, he knows which one he would make.
“I wouldn’t walk into a retailer and steal something. So why do we think it’s okay to not pay the artists or not do everything you can to make sure the artist gets paid properly?” he says.
Canberra Dance Theatre (CDT) is another local business on the list to have one of the Audoo meters installed. Artistic director, Jacqueline Simmonds, says they are keen to support the initiative to assist in the more accurate payment of royalties.
“Organisations like CDT depend on music; it is a vital element of teaching dance and offering a complete experience to participants. The dance teachers are paid for their work; it makes absolute sense that the composers and musicians are paid, too,” Ms Simmonds says.
Picture note: Drew Meads, Franchisee Forty Winks Fyshwick wants to see artists paid for their music.