Josh Mase and Michael Giles of Precise Digital are working with Pacific artists to distribute their work on streaming platforms.
A music distribution company is campaigning for Pacific musicians to get their money’s worth after it found many artists were losing out on streaming revenue.
Precise Digital CEO Michael Giles estimates Pacific musicians lost thousands of dollars in royalties.
Artists receive, on average, a small fraction of a cent for every time one of their songs is streamed on a major platform if they meet the requirements.
For YouTube, the minimum requirement for monetization is a platform with 1,000 subscribers and more than 4,000 hours of viewing time on public videos in the last 12 months.
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Giles said the biggest problem was that many people were not aware of this and that they could make money from streaming.
He worked with Samoan musician Josh Mase to rectify this, and had signed up more than 100 artists to help them get paid what they are due.
Some of their clients include big names in Pacific music such as George Fiji Veikoso, the late Daniel Rae Costello, Tomorrow People and the Samoan gospel group Katinas.
“The whole world of music is very fascinating, but it’s very complicated, especially with how it’s evolved now. It’s a step away from CDs and records, most of it is on streaming platforms,” Giles said.
Jawsh 685 has reached the top of the US Billboard Hot 100.
Mase, the lead guitarist for Three Houses Down, said many Pacific artists worked independently and posted their own work without knowing they could make money from it.
When they started reaching out to Pacific artists, one of their big hurdles was convincing them that they weren’t being scammed.
They found that artists were being exploited, their work uploaded by others who were exploiting it.
“Even a lot of big names are getting scammed, defrauded or not getting paid, even in the Pacific.
“Over time we’ll get the rest of it, but we’ve already got a good portion of these artists finally getting royalties. We are slowly building these catalogs.”
Another challenge was making sure artists kept their original music.
Mase said a good example was Pacific music legend Costello, from Fiji, who recorded on CDs and cassettes, losing out on streaming royalties.
“We had to track down a lady in France who had every single Danny Rae album, it took us a year to track her down. We were able to complete his catalog online and send the royalties to his family.”
Mase said most of their artists make money from remixes of original songs.
“They didn’t like people remixing their songs, but it was about changing the mentality, because they could still make money from it,” he said.
“Anyone else who remixes their content, no matter how many times, the artist still gets paid for it.”
Giles said they wanted artists to focus on making music, while handling the rest, educating them along the way on ways to optimize viewership and revenue. In return, Precise Digital took a percentage of the artists’ earnings.
– The perception that money is flowing is changing. There is more money in the music industry now than ever, it has been turning a profit every year. Now is probably the best time to be an artist.”