Digital Rights of Audiovisual Makers – US & EU

Digital Rights of Audiovisual Makers – US & EU


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Topic Questions
United States
Netherlands vs. Germany and France

Further Reading


External Links

Policy Text Analysis – UNESCO & European Commission


Both digitisation and globalisation are changing how members of the audio-visual labour market, known in this chapter as makers, operate worldwide. In Europe, individuals face restrictions on their content when attempting to engage with global distribution platforms. In the United States, a highly-trained, over competitive market threatens potential income for makers. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, resulting in a more nomadic workforce, location-based initiatives lose significance and importance. In Europe, this means makers are moving their businesses to countries which provide the best funding support. Similarly, United States based makers are partnering with European producers to benefit from national film funding organisations intended for European makers.

As mentioned, issues arise with how European makers distribute their content. Since national broadcasters often fund projects, while claiming co-production rights, this limits a maker’s’ ability to work with platforms like Netflix. Many makers find it difficult to negotiate for more rights without supplying their own financial resources. Although Netflix does not provide a perfect solution and usually pays a small flat fee in exchange for content, makers increasingly value any platform which offers distribution outside of a single territory. There is much tension between the nationalistic position of film funding organisations and demands from makers as a result of digitisation. Most individuals would favour any solution which acknowledges their desire for greater global exposure.

These are just some of the findings of an exploratory qualitative research project carried out as an internship for the MA Arts and Society programme at Utrecht University. The research is also related to a project conducted by HTH Research and commissioned by the Dutch Portal for Audiovisual Makers (PAM), which is explained below.


Participants were solicited to answer questions over the phone about how digitisation affects work structures, power dynamics, and each individual’s expectations and needs. The interviewees were provided with a list of questions via email which created a focus for the conversation. However, each discussion varied and became catered to each participant’s unique experience. It was more important to give each individual a voice since such a personal element is missing from the policy text. Interviewees also provided insight into what it is like working in a contract-based labour market. They explained various expectations from clients and how the rise of digitisation has changed competitiveness, including an increase in skills competency and easier access to tools. Their responses were anonymised and compiled in a research summary. Constraints like time commitments and availability limited the number of available participants.

The interview-based research, described above, intends to contribute to an enquiry into the impact of amendments to the existing Copyright Act and the Related Rights Act in the Netherlands which was initiated by the Portal for Audiovisual Makers (PAM) in the Netherlands. Launched in 2009, PAM’s partners include the Screenwriters Network (Netwerk Scenarioschrijvers), Dutch Directors Guild, VEVAM, Actors’ Interests (Act Acteursbelangen), and collecting societies LIRA and NORMA). While aiming to help filmmakers and independent content creators navigate changes in the digital distribution process, PAM is invested in ensuring fair compensation for all parties involved in film production. The enquiry runs from March to November 2017 and is carried out by HTH Research, a research partnership created by Hans Mariēn, Henk Vinken, and Teunis IJdens. Its clients include Dutch organisations such as the Ministry of Education, the Mondriaan Fund, ACT, LKCA, NVJ, NVF, FLA, DuPho, BNO, LIRA, and Pictoright.

The reason for PAM to initiate the enquiry is because of changes in copyright laws in the Netherlands. On 1 July 2015, a new law called the Author’s Contract Rights Act was passed. This law is intended to strengthen the position of screenwriters, filmmakers and leading actors within the commercial audio-visual sector by making amendments to the existing Copyright Act and the Related Rights Act. These amendments include artikel 2 Aw, artikel 25c Aw, artikel 25d Aw, artikel 25e Aw, artikel 25f AW, and artikel 45d AW. The Minister of Security and Justice who is responsible for this legislation will send a mid-term review of the amendments to Parliament by the end of 2017, and there will be a final evaluation before 1 July 2020. PAM is interested in the effectiveness of these changes because it wants to make sure the new legislation is serving the best interests of screenwriters, filmmakers, and leading actors. By initiating this enquiry, PAM intends to contribute to the Ministry’s mid-term review.

The enquiry carried out by HTH Research focuses on the impact of the Author’s Contract Rights Act on contractual relations between makers and operators. One critical issue is the possible shift from direct fees, including complete buy-outs of copyright and related rights, to contracts that ensure a larger share of makers potential revenues based on these rights, and how this affects a maker’s total revenues from their work. Building on interviews with stakeholders, and focus groups with screenwriters, filmmakers, and actors, a digital survey among members of the fimmakers’, screenwriters’, and actors’ unions will be designed and conducted in Autumn 2017. This first assessment will be followed by a second survey in 2020. The point is to illustrate how contractual relations and the incomes of filmmakers, screenwriters, and actors have changed because of the Author’s Contract Rights Act. Publication of the final report is scheduled for December 2017.

While the internship research conducted is not part of the enquiry carried out by HTH, it is intended to provide complementary context surrounding the digital rights of filmmakers and related parties within the audio-visual sector. Additionally, it is important to explain how the landscape is different in the United States. This comparison is necessary because of how influential the United States is within the digital entertainment industry which includes the audio-visual sector. Many leading digital distribution platforms like Netflix and iTunes are based in the United States. Additionally, it is home to major entertainment companies like Universal, Warner Brothers, and Sony. Platforms and corporations such as these can significantly elevate a musician or filmmaker’s career to the mainstream global population.

Topic Questions

To depict a comparison of how digital distribution is handled within the audio-visual sectors of the United States and European Union, various members of the music and film industries were solicited to answer questions. The respondents were based in the Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, France, and the United States. Some interviewees had co-production companies in other countries. Companies, individuals, projects, and organisations represented include TuneRegistry, Arizona Films, Divide and Conquer, Indiepix, The Color Machine, Eye Filmmuseum, LIMA, Melia Films, Squatter Factory, Fighting Windmills, Rotterdam I Love You, Wellrounded Hoodlum, Micah Magee (director), Federation of European Film Directors (FERA), Robert Gold (independent music supervisor), Absent Without Leave, Phonofile, Topkapi Films, Netherlands Film Fund, New York Film Loft, LinkedIn, MATTE Projects, and Kindred Management.

In preparation for each interview, the following questions, divided by topics, were sent along with a description of the research brief to each participant.

Training & Education

Investment & Capital


Career Development

Job Security

United States

According to interviewed makers from the United States, the funding situation forces these individuals to invest their own money and resources into a film project. As a result, they are usually able to retain control and ownership of their content and have freedom with how to distribute and sell their work. However, since government funding is nearly non-existent, these makers often rely on corporate clients to earn an income and save up for film endeavours. In considering this reliance on personal and private capital, factors caused by digitisation make it harder for United States makers to earn a living.

Since digital equipment like DSLR cameras are considerably cheap to acquire and operate, many corporate clients view this as a reason to lower budgets for film production companies. Based on responses from United States based makers, clients traditionally paid $50,000-$100,000 per campaign. They now offer between $15,000-$25,000, sometimes $10,000, and expect similar, if not more, services performed. Digitisation has changed client expectations. Corporate clients now demand content for TV, web, social media, among other marketing and advertising distribution channels. Before the internet, makers used to only make content for TV.

Further devaluing the work of makers is the rise of skilled labour. Digitisation makes it much easier for individuals to become self-trained. Also, based on several conversations with interviewees, the learning curve for digital equipment is much lower compared to analogue equipment. Such easy access to training and hardware creates a more competitive talent pool for clients. Makers are finding that it is easy to become outpriced by those who offer similar services for less money. This high supply of trained workers gives clients immense power regarding budgets and contractual terms.

The interviewees described various scenarios of this precarious labour market and how little power they have. In some situations, clients would require makers to keep their work confidential. Such contractual obligations mean that a maker cannot show these projects on their website, which is often used to pitch other clients for more work. These arrangements are created because some clients want to appear as though they produced the content. It is also common for makers to sign a standard agreement preventing them from earning additional revenue from licensing. In both instances, the client only views the maker as a hired hand.

Another challenge makers face when dealing with corporate clients is how these individuals often become set at a particular rate. Some interviewees described how they would charge a low fee to attract new clients when they did not have a large portfolio. This strategy usually gives these makers an advantage over more seasoned, experienced, and expensive individuals. While it helps new makers to build a reputation by becoming associated with recognisable corporations, these individuals find it hard to increase their fees when they gain more experience. According to some interviewees, clients remember what makers charge at the beginning of their careers and they become locked into that rate. Also driving rates down, as mentioned before, is the amount of self-trained individuals willing to work for less.

Arrangements between makers and corporate clients described above place more responsibility on the individual. This shift, fuelled by digitisation, also affects expectations placed on the producer. Before the digital age, clients were much more involved in the overall process of a project. They were much more willing to allocate resources and support for actors, post production editors, and other vital components of the production process. Makers today must find, manage, and pay for all of this necessary additional support out of their own budgets. The client is only interested in seeing the finished product, and expects the producer to handle the entire process.

Since there seem to be no clear policies to protect makers against more demands from clients, it is easy for a major corporation to change contract terms and expectations to work in their favour. Also, since there is such a high supply of talented creatives, there are no repercussions if a client turns down a maker who does not agree with certain conditions set forth by a client. While this puts immense pressure on the maker, these situations do help United States based makers learn how to negotiate contracts before they start working on a film project. In comparison, European makers, described below, often deal with contracts for the first time when soliciting support from film funding organisations. The main issue with the United States model is that it is becoming harder for a maker to leave the corporate world.


Many European makers find it difficult to get their works distributed on global platforms, like Netflix. These challenges are often linked to how makers receive government funding. According to most interviewees, a national broadcaster will usually invest in a project along with most film funding institutions. Since these broadcasters commonly claim co-production rights, this creates difficulties if a maker wants to have their works distributed elsewhere. Platforms like Netflix seek co-production rights, and face challenges in transferring such ownership from a national broadcaster.

Another issue caused by government funding arrangements is in how a maker needs to recoup their investment. As films usually require a substantial amount of money to produce, it is highly unlikely for a company like Netflix to take on this burden in exchange for rights. One of the reasons government organisations are so interested in maintaining some control of film content is in the structure of these institutions and who they serve. They are a government entity, funded by the public, with the primary goal of creating and distributing content to the national audience they serve. Since funding institutions generally achieve this, there are limited incentives for giving rights back to the filmmaker.

Since each country has different funding requirements, some makers mentioned how they would establish a production company where the terms are most beneficial. One catalyst for this flexibility is the internet. As film production and content creation is transformed by digitisation, the need to work from a physical space becomes less important. Additionally, makers can easily find co-production partners who live and work in places with better resources and support. Many interviewed makers discussed how they created a business for the sole purpose of applying to government funding organisations.

Such trans-national arrangements, easily facilitated by the internet, contradict how funding organisations aim to create content for a particular national audience. This lack of nationalistic loyalty is further fuelled by how some overarching European funding initiatives, like Creative Europe, require multiple co-production partners in at least two different countries. Financial resources allocated for a specific region could be applied to projects elsewhere as a result of makers sourcing support from across the European Union. This nomadic approach to funding contradicts how government funding organisations traditionally operate and often defeats their purpose.

Neither the European or United States models are perfect – both have room for improvement. However, European makers usually have more access to essential services like health care. Still, some European makers did express difficulty in receiving social benefits like unemployment insurance. Since there are various requirements for how unemployment insurance is recognised, including working in the country where an individual resides, receiving such assistance becomes difficult for makers who perform work in other countries.

One advantage of the European situation is that makers always have the option to earn an income from corporate work, in addition to government film funds. Individuals in the United States usually cannot rely on investments from public organisations. One example of this is with a nationally supported film, Rotterdam I Love You. The producer used money from performing corporate client work, in conjunction with support from private investors, to fund the project. This approach allowed him to retain rights to the project. He even commented on how European clients tend to pay higher than those in the United States.


Interviewed makers mentioned one organisation in particular, the Netherlands Film Fund, as creating challenges for global digital distribution. Issues arise due to the way makers receive funding. The Netherlands Film Fund is only part of the total equation and usually provides 50% of a project’s overall funding. The remaining 50% is commonly provided by a national broadcaster. While working with a broadcaster is not a requirement for receiving funding, the Netherlands Film Fund admitted it becomes more difficult for the maker without such external support. Many interviewees felt they needed to work with a national broadcaster to receive funding.

This misconception surrounding national broadcasters is partially due to how the Netherlands Film Fund represents funding packages in application documents and publications. Broadcasters are mentioned within the overall context of how makers usually receive funding. In the Netherlands, there are many public and commercial broadcasters, including NPO1, NPO2, NPO3, RTL4, RTL5, RTL7, RTL8, RTL Z, RTL Crime, RTL Lounge, SBS 6, Net 5, Veronica, and SBS 9. NPO, which is an aggregator for eight broadcasters, was most commonly discussed among filmmakers. In addition to being an aggregator, the service has an online distribution platform similar to HBO and Canal+. One positive advantage of receiving funds from a national broadcaster, like NPO, is that the supported project will be shown to a guaranteed audience. However, since these broadcasters claim co-production rights, makers usually find difficulty in bringing their content to global distributors like Netflix.

The Netherlands Film Fund mentioned there were various ways in which a supported project receives funding. They cited some instances where some filmmakers worked with private financiers in addition to the Netherlands Film Fund. While this may be true, it is certainly not the most common approach. The organisation also claimed how they do not exclude a maker from working with platforms like Netflix. However, due to their affiliation with national broadcasters, they indirectly make it difficult for makers. To counteract such claims, the Netherlands Film Fund provided one example where a Dutch feature film received investment from Netflix. In this instance, the film’s producers independently negotiated with distributors. Netflix then paid the producers who paid the distributors. The Netherlands Film Fund was not involved in this process. They supported the project after the terms were negotiated. While relying on national broadcasters is not the only way to receive funding, other solutions are much more difficult for makers.

Rotterdam I Love You, which was already referenced, is another good example of a film not relying on support from a national broadcaster. In addition to investing private money, as mentioned earlier, the producer was able to use the film’s recognisable brand as leverage to cross out the broadcasting section of their agreement. Since the film is part of the Cities of Love franchise, responsible for Paris je t’aime, New York I Love You, Rio I Love You, Marseille Je t’aime, and Malmö I Love You, the film’s producer had much more leverage than an independent, lesser-known maker. A similar scenario happened with the producer for Brimstone, another major feature film. The broadcasting agreement was able to be negotiated because most of the funds came from American private investors. While the Netherlands Film Fund claims their involvement was to help the film reach a break-even point, it also allowed the organisation to include the title in their promotional material and annual reports.

As illustrated, national broadcaster restrictions are not applicable to every film project. However, all interviewed Dutch makers discussed broadcasters as being problematic. While such restrictions do seem to appear to be more flexible depending on the size of the project, many makers applying for funding do not possess a high level of influence for negotiating terms. One workaround the Netherlands Film Fund suggested is to create an agreement with Netflix which excludes the Dutch territory from distribution. No examples of such territory negotiations were mentioned by interviewed makers.

Not only do broadcaster funding arrangements create issues for makers who want to distribute their content worldwide, but broadcasters also do not share any revenue with makers. This lack of additional financial support, makes it harder for makers to recoup their investment from the Netherlands Film Fund. In general, makers are able to pay back their loans through theatrical releases and sales. The Netherlands Film Fund also claims that TV broadcasting is part of the equation. However, according to some interviewees, when a broadcaster like NPO earns money through advertising the profits are not shared with makers. In this example, the NPO retains all revenue. While being associated with a national broadcaster helps increase a maker’s credibility, it is not financially beneficial.

Netherlands vs. Germany and France

When speaking with interviewees in Germany and France, these countries seemed to offer more flexibility and transparency to their funding approach. In Berlin, for example, many funding organisations require the maker to find either a TV distributor or sales agent independently. These organisations appear to be more accommodating of external partners. Although the Netherlands has more resources in place for filmmakers, the German approach seems to work better for various solutions. It requires more effort from the maker, but also provides the possibility of more control from the individual. However, when discussing this with the Netherlands Film Fund, they claimed that some German regional funds are connected to broadcasters and distribution needs to be guaranteed. They could not speak to the rights these broadcasters take from funded makers.

Regarding transparency, France publishes all maker contracts online on the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image Animée (CNC) website. By freely publishing such documents, the French government intends to provide more resources to makers. The goal is to help such individuals view and compare how similar situations and arrangements were negotiated. It is meant to be an educational resource to help makers ask for better terms. If Dutch makers had similar access to contracts and documents, they could see how other individuals negotiated broadcaster terms. This transparency would also change assumptions about what makers view as necessary to receive funding.


Further Reading



One revenue stream hardly touched upon during the interview process is crowdfunding. Online platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo provide the capability for makers to upload their project to solicit funding from online communities. Although crowdfunding seems like a viable way for a maker to raise enough money to fund a film project, there are some downsides to this approach. Most interviewees claimed that producing a feature film requires $250,000 to $1M. When discussing crowdfunding, some individuals mentioned that most campaigns raise around $50,000. While this is a good start, it is not nearly enough to pay for actors, editing, and other additional costs. However, it does allow a maker to create material to present their idea to investors and government funding organisations. According to some interviewees, another issue with crowdfunding is the amount of effort needed to run a successful campaign. Between social media engagement and constantly asking people for money, crowdfunding can become a full-time job. Such commitments detract from the purpose of using crowdfunding as a vehicle for monetary capital, as any individual needs to support themselves.

When speaking with the owner of New York Film Loft, who advocates heavily for crowdfunding, many stakeholders like investors, television broadcasters, and major film producers view crowdfunding as beneficial. From the perspective of these stakeholders, crowdfunding helps show a film’s potential audience reach. However, some interviewed makers stressed that a successful crowdfunding campaign does not always reflect a project’s success in the real world. Since content is funded before anyone has seen it, there is no guarantee in terms of the level of quality or audience engagement. Crowdfunding also lacks the ability to screen content and test an audience’s response. Also, some interviewees described examples of when a funded crowdfunding campaign did not result in a finished product. There seems to be no negative financial repercussions if the project is not completed.


The role of the actor within the production process was briefly mentioned by interviewees. While there are various unions in the United States and Europe which are meant to protect actors, many interviewees expressed how an actor could become less hireable of they are associated with a union. Although unions were created to protect everyone involved in the production process and help these individuals receive fair compensation, they are only effective when recognised by other organisations. Many United States- based interviewees discussed how corporate clients would give priority to production companies who do not work with union affiliated workers. This ignorance of labour unions also applies to technical staff and other non-production related labourers.


Below are relevant topics and discussions related to the policy texts and interviews. They illustrate ongoing conversations occurring in the audio-visual market. Also, additional information is found about related subjects that came up during the interview process. While there is no clear conclusion from these dialogues, the point is to demonstrate how various industries are interconnected and need a better legislative framework to survive. They also show how, while the intentions of certain policies are good, there is a clear lack of responsibility for who will take care of the wellbeing of members of the creative labour market. The topics covered include the recent initiative from the European Commission to create a Digital Single Market, which includes video distribution, a report about how the Dutch broadcaster, the NPO, actively dismisses the capabilities of YouTube (including audience development for its filmmakers) to retain traffic, how the Cannes Film Festival does not agree with Netflix, and the music industry’s influence on film production and why the two are similar. Tensions such as the Digital Single Market, NPO vs. YouTube, and Cannes vs. Netflix are important to show the leverage digital platforms have against government organisations and how governments are trying to retain their influence in a globalised society.

  1. Digital Single Market

A recent initiative from the European commission called the Digital Single Market strategy aims to allow for less country restrictive content by broadening copyright laws to cover the entire European Union. According to Lexology, the strategy will allow Europeans to access the same content on platforms like Netflix or Amazon Prime when travelling between European Union member states. Currently, individuals face issues like access to content when they leave their home countries. Such barriers are because digital content is often given distribution rights in certain areas. “The DSM strategy is intended to overcome national barriers of outdated and divergent legislation (in areas such as copyright, data protection, audio-visual media and telecoms) so that laws can be modernised and harmonised to connect and integrate the European digital market.” On the homepage of the European Union’s website for the Digital Single Market, it states, “The European Commission supports media policies that empower European citizens to enjoy seamless and interactive experiences, letting them access any content from anywhere in Europe.” By claiming all content, the initiative seems to be over promising its capabilities.

This consumer driven strategy is very much focused on improving access to subscriber based services, like Netflix and Amazon Prime. It determines subscribers by their financial information tied to a European Union member country. Interestingly, the Digital Single Market initiative mentions that national broadcasters may be excluded, depending on which rights they retain. Regulation (EU) 2017/1128 of the European Parliament and of the Council states, “The acquisition of a licence for relevant rights is not always possible, in particular when rights in content are licensed on an exclusive basis. To ensure that territorial exclusivity is effectively complied with, providers of online content services often undertake, in their licence contracts with rightholders, including broadcasting organisations or events organisers, to prevent their subscribers from accessing and using their services outside the territory for which the providers hold the licence.” This change means that while content already registered on platforms Netflix or Amazon Prime can be accessed across this European Union, the Digital Single Market may not help content restricted by broadcasters and government funding schemes.

  1. NPO vs. YouTube

To force audiences to use its website, the NPO disallows funded film producers from showing their work, including small clips, on YouTube. This ignorance to the benefits of social media tools, like YouTube, further restricts the reach of a project which the NPO claims co-production rights. According to De Focus, although NPO has a digital VOD platform, the website does not allow users to embed and share content from the site. Also, finding content on the NPO website is very difficult as there are no search functionalities. It seems that NPO is more interested in driving viewers than its website than helping a maker increase their potential reach. While this helps the NPO retain profits, as mentioned earlier, some interviewees explained how the NPO does not share revenue with the maker. The broadcasting platform traps content within the Netherlands and makes it very difficult for a maker to increase the value of content by reaching a global audience. This strategy from the NPO seems to ignore all the digital tools which can allow a maker to be more successful.

  1. Netflix vs. Cannes

This year at the Cannes Film Festival in France, a controversy arose with two Netflix films, The Meyerowitz Stories and Okja, which premiered at the event. The films were not received well by festival attendees due to their affiliation with the global distribution platform. This echoes some sentiments shared by interviewees towards Netflix. Although some interviewees desired to have their content acquired by Netflix, others shared concerns about how the film experience changes when it is not viewed in a cinema. The main issue Cannes had with Netflix is in how they require films which premiere to be shown in a French cinema at least three years before they are digitally distributed. “…reports say there was a chorus of boos from the audience when the Netflix logo appeared on screen. That’s because many players in the traditional film industry see the streaming giant as an unwelcome interloper in their business, if not an outright threat…comments echoed the festival’s announcement earlier this month that starting next year, it won’t screen any movies that haven’t had a traditional theatrical release in France first (Fortune).” These rules were changed after the Cannes Film Festival decided to include the Netflix titles. It is obviously in Netflix’s interests to not show a film in French cinema and release the content directly on its platform.

Film critic Robert Ebert’s website defended Cannes’ decision. It says that Netflix is threatening the government funding system for films in France. The French film industry has cultivated a culture where going to the cinema is heavily supported. Also, when people go to a movie theatre a portion of ticket sales goes towards funding French films. Ebert’s website claims that some benefits of this system include a better selection of films produced and distributed and diverse types of cinemas. The CNC, which funds French films, does not measure success by the amount of money a film makes. It assesses ticket sales instead. Although platforms like Netflix are inevitable in the age of digitisation and global distribution, Ebert’s website seems to be alluding to how they can create a homogenous film culture. The stance is that the French model is more interested in the quality of life of its citizens and how they can learn from culture than only supporting projects which will turn the biggest profit. The challenge is how to use technology to reach new audiences while retaining this film environment.

  1. Music Industry

It is worth mentioning how digitisation affects the music industry, especially since this part of the audio-visual sector seems less regulated than film production and music plays a huge role in the film production process. Many films rely on music to evoke a certain feeling and quality to their aesthetic. To legally use music in films, a producer must negotiate a sync licensing agreement. One way the film industry has cheapened the value of music is by using stock music rather than dealing with musicians. This audio resource means a lost source of income for musicians. According to some interviewees, film producers can browse stock music libraries online and pay a small flat fee to create their desired soundtrack.

Since digitisation is changing how and where content is broadcast, music licensing agreements need to be continuously adapted. When speaking with music supervisor, Robert Gold, he mentioned how old TV shows like Everybody Loves Raymond were created before platforms like Netflix and Hulu came into existence. Music contracts for these shows did not address licensing beyond traditional broadcast television. New licensing agreements were needed to acknowledge changes in distribution. These music rights renegotiations are called a media upgrade and generate income for music publishing companies and record labels. While this is good for the music industry, it shows why a film producer would be less inclined to work with a musician. They do not want to deal with constantly updating obsolete rights agreements.

Regarding the corporate world, clients are paying less to license music for commercials. Since digitisation has changed where content is being seen, it becomes harder for a client to understand the potential reach of a commercial. Multiple distribution channels make it harder to track who is its reaching. According to some interviews, this is contributing to reduced project fees. Due to lower equipment costs for the entire production process (including music), as mentioned earlier, corporate clients have many reasons to justify a lower rate for music licensing. Another factor driving down cost is how music artists are willing to give free songs to clients. Their motive behind this is to increase potential reach and gain a bigger audience. Also, some interviewees mentioned how a client sometimes circumvents management and contacts an artist directly. The internet allows for such free access to contact information.

Regulating the music industry with organisations like labour unions is harder than the film industry. Although unions could help musicians, the subjective nature of what makes a piece of content “good” or “bad” makes it hard to assign a value to music. Some interviewees mentioned how both the film and industry relies on young free labour who needs to prove their worth, which also includes musicians. Much like with the film industry, even if unions were in place, the social dynamic of the music industry would make them irrelevant. Also, musicians see career building exercises like performing at venues for free as practice for when they secure “bigger” opportunities. It is no surprise then that musicians find it hard to assign a value to their own work when providing content to a corporate client as they are trained to believe that reaching an audience is the most important indicator of success.

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