Money in the music streaming business keeps mysteriously disappearing. Here’s why.

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Fusion

A ton of money in the music industry is going missing. Some companies, like Kobalt Music Publishing, have platforms that watch their money in real time. And yet according to a recent report by Berklee College of Music, somewhere between 20-50 percent of royalty payments aren’t making it to the correct recipients. And in a $45 billion dollar global music economy, that figure certainly isn’t chump change.

So where is all of that money going? The business of streaming music, as it stands today, is confusing, muddy, and incredibly mysterious. And that’s part of why it’s so controversial.

From the very beginning, the check written could be wrong.

Companies that stream music—like Spotify, Pandora or Apple—pay artists in exchange for playing their songs. Somewhere between the company cutting a check to cover the music and the artist— be they a performer, a songwriter, a sound engineer, or a producer— depositing money…

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