Do artists actually make more from UCPS?

  • 20 August 2021
  • 4 replies

How's it going y’all. 

I represent a new music label based in Ethiopia and am trying to understand streaming payouts for our artists on various platforms but I'm still having some difficulties understanding the differences between UCPS and the pool pro rata payment method (MCPS). I understand the technical differences between the two payment systems but I dont understand how the artist benefits more financially with UCPS.

Can anyone explain in further detail? I’ve read every thread/article on Deezer site and they’re not detailed enough imo. I need to see a realistic scenario comparison. Does anyone have a chart that shows why/how artists make more money with UCPS? Because with UCPS you're still using a pool system its just that it's USER based instead of lumped together in one large pool. But if an artist gets 1% of total streams vs 25% of X amount of single-user fees, how does that effect the artist? It seems that the pool is just a much smaller percentage of a much larger pie, no? Am I missing something? 


I just read the study by French Government and Deezer/Spotify which analyzes the actual income distribution between UCPS vs MCPS and concluded that the top 1% of artists will make a little bit less spread out over the other categories with marginal gains for least streamed artists. Again, am I missing something (See attached image)?


Are there other requirements to make UCPS more beneficial to artists like only counting a max amount of streams per user so as to level the playing field? It seems like UCPS rewards artists more only when people stream a smaller amount relative to the average user. That is, if 10,000 paid subscribers only streamed infrequently and listened to a smaller, indie artist then they could generate higher returns. I.e. 10k paid users listen to jazz experimentalist artist only 20 streams. Those 20 streams represents 20% of all their streaming, then that jazz artist could till make $20k from those low-frequency users which Im guessing would be less than if that artist had a minuscule share of the pool?

Nice to meet you and hope youre good,
trent k

4 replies

Userlevel 7
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First of all let me tell that I know everything about Deezer, but I know nothing about UCPS.

At least not everything about UCPS.

I understand the basics and like you said there are these big pools. Then they will change that to user pools. In my option it depends whether artists we listen gets paid fairly. If someone is paying to Deezer let’s say 11,99 for Hifi Premium, and listens one hour a week compared to me, who listens 5000 tracks a month, then you barely see anything in UCPS. Now someone else pays from MCPS.

My enormous streams I mean. I am customer for Deezer at loss.

Music is my life and I listen music NO JOKE for 12 hours a day. AT LEAST.

Let’s think that UCPS is in use.

Before UCPS when MCPS was a thing someone else paid as well to compensate my streams. Maybe you or your neighbour paying for Deezer, but listening ONLY one hour a day. The price is always fixed in payments this way. In UCPS price is based on your pool, and per stream it may be anything from almost zero. Deezer may keep let’s say 50 % of a payment for their needs after VAT.

From 11,99 I took out local 24% VAT and ended in 9,11 euros.

We minus 50 % of that. We get 4,55 euros for payments.

This is only valid IF Deezer is keeping 50% of our money after VAT.

One stream in UCPS from that monthly is 4,55 euros.

1 000 streams in UCPS from that monthly is 0,00455 euros.

5 000 streams in UCPS from that monthly is 0,00091 euros.

If you listen mostly same playlists artists may get just about the same. If you listen new music more than old, you like to discover, artists may get next to nothing and are going to survive with ZERO.

Note that labels take their own slice, so that’s even less what your artist gets.

What you get as an artist of your fans really depends if UCPS is used. Are they listening to music only one hour a day or 14 hours a day. Someone who listens you once, you get 100% to your label. Someone who pays Deezer and listens one track a months is really rare. Really rare.

So I recommend that you sell your music or merchandise on your site to get some more.

When I understand that cassette time and MP3 store time may be over, as an artist you just need to accept where your fans are. The payments depends not only on paying model at Deezer, but as well on your deal with your distributor, which Deezer has no do. Thanks a lot. See you again.

Userlevel 7
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Hi there @Trent Koutsoubos 

Thanks a lot for your detailed feedback and questions.

At the moment, Deezer is working on revamping the UCPS website and content, to provide a better idea of what we're proposing and also to reveal more fulfilling details of what we achieved so far. In order to better respond to your questions, I strongly recommend you hanging there a bit longer, for when we "relaunch" the campaign.

In the meantime, I've passed your comments to our teams here at Deezer and I hope to get a response soon, and will let you know :relaxed:

 @Rudi @hpguru 


Thanks for the responses. From what you are both saying it seems like there is some implicit logic to fill out in the UCPS argument. 


It seems though that the real issue is not pro rata pool vs the UCPS. The more challenging issue is uneven stream quantity. Because even if the system is UCPS, as soon as an individual listens to MORE THAN ONE ARTIST than you have the problems associated with pool, namely: how is the money split among the multiple artists users listen to? there has to either be a limit or different tiers for each level of listening, no? 

Userlevel 7
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Maybe, @Trent Koutsoubos 

But to make these questions a bit simpler, our Head of Royalties can have a chat with you. I've PMed you his email :wink: