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Berklee report says musicians missing out on millions of dollars in rights fees

The inefficiencies and backroom dealings of the global business structure divert millions of dollars from rightful creators, according to a study released Monday by Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE).

Rethink Music, an initiative of the institute, found after a year-long examination that musicians are left out of licensing and rights conversations while royalty statements and accounting systems lack transparency. Anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of payments due to music creators don’t go to them, the report found.

The initiative proposed technologies to support the back end of the music industry and a “Creator’s Bill of Rights” to dictate ethical payment systems and fair compensation.


“There’s a revolution happening in the media business today, and in some ways the creative class has been a passive observer,” said Panos Panay, founding managing director of BerkleeICE.

The report also recommends creating a “fair-trade” certification to let consumers know musicians were paid; implementing a database to manage royalty payments; utilizing technology to facilitate online payments from fans to music creators; and offering educational instruction for music creators about their rights.

Karishma Mehrotra can be reached at karishma.mehrotra@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @missmishma.