Deezer: It’s an “urban myth” that artists don’t get money from music streaming

Michael Krause, chief international officer at music streaming service Deezer, says that artists and record labels’ complaints about music streaming services aren’t justified.

Speaking at the Hub Conference in Germany, Krause said: “You can see that the revenue percentage for the major labels a large part comes from streaming.

“We also see that the payoff for artists from the record labels is bigger than on the CD side. It’s an urban myth that artists are not getting money.

“Of course it depends on their contract with the record labels, but for example in Sweden they did a study that said while the market was growing 45% the payoff for artists grew to 111%, so it’s definitely good for artists as well.”

Image and featured image courtesy of Deezer

Image and featured image courtesy of Deezer

Krause also spoke about the future of Deezer and said the service will seek out uninitiated listeners rather than competing with bigger music services.

“In terms of Europe, Germany and the UK are obviously the largest countries and the largest music markets to convert from CD sales, mobile downloads and mp3 downloads to streaming.

“The interesting thing about the European market is that in the Scandinavian areas, where our competition started, the penetration of paid music streaming is already over 20%. If you look at the other markets, like Germany, the UK and also France, the penetration of paid music streaming services is still around 3 to 4%, so there’s a lot of room for growth.

“Currently we’re not even competing with Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Google and the others to try and steal users from each other because we are looking for the untapped users who are still downloading mp3s or still downloading CDs.”

Taylor Swift has been one of the more vocal artists to criticise streaming services for not adequately paying artists. Image courtesy of Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com

Taylor Swift has been one of the more vocal performers to criticise streaming services for not adequately paying artists. Image courtesy of Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com

As well as looking to Europe, Deezer also has an eye on Japan where physical CD sales still make up a large part of the market.

Krause said: “There’s still big potential in Japan, which is  very big physical market, so over 70% of revenues from CD sales or CD rentals, there are companies who rent CDs with 50 million active customers, so there’s a lot of potential there.”

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Researchers have found a running style for six-legged robots that significantly improves on the traditional nature-inspired method of movement.

The research, conducted by scientists at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the University of Lausanne (UNIL) in Switzerland, found that as long as the robots are not equipped with insect-like adhesive pads, it is faster for them to move with only two legs on the ground at any given time.

Robotics has in the past few years made heavy use of biomimicry – the practice of mimicking natural systems – resulting in six-legged robots being designed to move like insects. In nature, insects use what is known as a tripod gait, where they have three legs on the ground at a time, so it had been assumed that this was the most efficient way for similarly legged robots to move.

However, by undertaking a series of computer simulations, tests on robots and experiments on Drosophila melanogaster – better known as the common fruit fly – the scientists found that the two-legged approach, which they have dubbed the bipod gait, results in faster and more efficient movement.

The core goal of the research, which is published today in the journal Nature Communications, was to confirm whether the long-held assumption that a tripod gait was best was indeed correct.

“We wanted to determine why insects use a tripod gait and identify whether it is, indeed, the fastest way for six-legged animals and robots to walk,” said Pavan Ramdya, study co-lead and corresponding author.

Initially, this involved the use of a simulated insect model based on the common fruit fly and an algorithm designed to mimic different evolutionary stages. This algorithm simulated different potential gaits to create a shortlist of those that it deemed to be the fastest.

This, however, shed light on why insects have a tripod gait – and why it may not be the best option for robots. The simulations showed that the traditional tripod gait works in combination with the adhesive pad found on the ends of insects’ legs to make climbing over vertical surfaces such as rocks easier and quicker.

Robots, however, are typically designed to walk along flat surfaces, and so the benefits of such a gait are lost.

“Our findings support the idea that insects use a tripod gait to most effectively walk on surfaces in three dimensions, and because their legs have adhesive properties. This confirms a long-standing biological hypothesis,” said Ramdya. “Ground robots should therefore break free from only using the tripod gait”.

Study co-lead authors Robin Thandiackal (left) and Pavan Ramdya with the six-legged robot used in the research. Images courtesy of EPFL/Alain Herzog

To for always corroborate the simulation’s findings, the researchers built a six-legged robot that could move either with a bipod or tripod gait, and which quickly confirmed the research by being faster when moving with just two legs on the ground at once.

However, they went further by confirming that the adhesive pads were in fact playing a role in the insect’s tripod movement.

They did this by equipping the fruit flies with tiny polymer boots that would cover the adhesive pads, and so remove their role in the way the insects moved. The flies’ responses confirms their theory: they began moving with a bipod-like gate rather than their conventional tripod-style movement.

“This result shows that, unlike most robots, animals can adapt to find new ways of walking under new circumstances,” said study co-lead author Robin Thandiackal.

As bizarre as the research sounds, it provides valuable new insights both for roboticists and biologists, and could lead to a new standard in the way that six legged robots are designed to move.

“There is a natural dialogue between robotics and biology: Many robot designers are inspired by nature and biologists can use robots to better understand the behavior of animal species,” added Thandiackal. “We believe that our work represents an important contribution to the study of animal and robotic locomotion.”