“Digital is generating more money than before”

Are we witnessing a digital shift in cultural consumption?

Alain Le Diberder: In 2020, consumers turned to remote digital offers, because there was lockdown, then the fear of going out, and now the curfew… Will it last? It all depends on the areas. For the book, there hasn’t been a rush on Kindle and digital book sales. And the bookstores were very busy when they reopened. When it comes to music, however, something has happened. The success of platforms like Apple Music, Deezer and Spotify has accelerated. And companies that organize show tours like Live Nation have turned overwhelmingly to paid virtual concerts. An American rapper thus won 10 million dollars. The Korean K-pop group BTS, a pioneer in this type of concert, went public. As for the cinema, attendance has recovered little because the films are not released in theaters. And large American studios prefer to offer them for the moment on their platforms.

What income for artists during this period?

ALD: Artists earn income from their new and old works. Their living rights, their fees paid them much less, because there were far fewer orders. But digital is generating more money than before. Because copyright collecting societies like Sacem (for music) or SACD (for audio-visual) very early on took the digital turn and defended the copyright directive at European level. So when there is a transfer of works to Spotify or Netflix, it is not necessarily a bad thing for the artists. Even if digital still pays little and could do it better. There are discussions about the low remuneration of artists on Spotify. Artists must fight.

Do you think the period is right to demand more from digital players?

ALD: The Gafa are in a difficult political position because there are quite strong threats of intervention in the United States, Europe, Australia, Canada, etc. Now is the time for artists to take advantage of it and ask for a better sharing of the added value. But the problem is that we have large multinational companies on one side and national artistic organizations on the other. France is at the forefront of the fight to obtain better remuneration for works, but it would be fairer if there were an international of German, French, Italian or American artists.


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