Dissecting The Digital Dollar

Helping artists and managers navigate the streaming business

Dissecting The Digital Dollar is a series of reports, guides and tools produced by CMU Insights for the UK’s Music Managers Forum designed to help artists and managers better understand the streaming business, and the impact the shift to streaming has had on the wider recorded music industry.


‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar Part One’ was published in October 2015 and explains in one place how audio streaming services are licensed. It also includes a beginner’s guide to music copyright, recording and publishing contracts, and collective licensing, all of which impact on how the music industry’s digital deals are structured.

You can download Part One as a PDF HERE. You can download an executive summary as a PDF HERE.

‘Dissecting The Digital Digital Part Two’ was published in October 2016 and was based on a series of roundtable discussions involving over 200 music professionals in four countries, including artists, songwriters, labels, publishers, accountants, lawyers and managers. The discussions considered seven key issues with the current streaming business model and the resulting report proposed a series of solutions.

You can download Part Two as a PDF HERE. You can download an executive summary as a PDF HERE.


Based on the findings of the ‘Digital Dollar’ roundtables, in October 2017 the MMF is publishing two new guides: ‘The Deals Guide’ and ‘The Transparency Guide’.

‘The Deals Guide’ explains the workings, legalities and pros and cons of the various different kinds of label and distribution deals available to artists today. You can download your free copy here.

To accompany ‘The Deals Guide’ we are also launching the MMF Digital Deals Comparison Calculator, which makes it easier for managers to understand the key differences between different deal types in terms of the services that are provided and the way revenues are shared. The calculator will be available on the MMF website later this month.

‘The Transparency Guide’ identifies all the information and data artists and managers require from their business partners to fully understand and succeed in the streaming business. You can download your free copy here.

To accompany ‘The Transparency Guide’ we are also launching the MMF Transparency Index that will allow managers to compare just how transparent different business partners really are, and to share that information with the rest of the management community. The index will be available on the MMF website later this month.


Also coming soon, ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar: Second Edition’, which will bring together all the key elements of the ‘Digital Dollar’ project to date in one book, which will be available in print form by mail-order or as an e-book.

Including an updated version of Part One, ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar: Second Edition’ will be a one-stop guide to how to the streaming business works, how the digital dollars are generated and shared, and what challenges are still to be met by artists, songwriters, managers, labels, publishers, collecting societies, and the streaming platforms themselves.