CMU has been working with the UK’s Music Managers Forum since 2015 on the ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ project, helping managers, artists and songwriters navigate and understand how music streaming works, and all the various ongoing debates about the digital music business.

This work has resulted in a series of reports, guides and other resources for MMF members, and has informed the organisation’s campaigns to bring about positive change in the streaming market. The reports and guides were then updated and compiled into the ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ book.

CMU’s Chris Cooke also continues to consult on trends, developments and debates in the music streaming sector for both the MMF and the wider Council Of Music Makers, which also includes the Musicians’ Union, the Featured Artists Coalition, the Ivors Academy and the Music Producers Guild.

As a leading expert on digital licensing and the streaming market, CMU’s Chris Cooke also delivers masterclasses and in-house team training on the sector, and presents speed briefings about the economics of streaming and diversifying digital market at music conferences and events all over the world.


The growth of music streaming over the last decade has dramatically changed the business of recorded music. Instead of sharing in the proceeds of a physical or digital sale, music-makers and rightsholders are now participating in new commercial models based on revenue share and micro-payments.

‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ explains how the streaming business works, how the music industry has licensed the digital platforms and how digital royalties flow through the system. To help you understand this complex licensing model, it also provides a beginner’s guide to music copyright, record and publishing contracts, and the collective licensing system.

When first published as a report by the UK’s Music Managers Forum in 2015, ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ also raised a number of issues which were subsequently discussed at a series of roundtables in 2016 involving artists, songwriters, labels, publishers, lawyers, accountants and managers.

The Third Edition of the book, published in July 2020, includes an updated version of the original report – covering recent market trends and copyright reforms – as well as a summary of the roundtable discussions, and four Digital Dollar guides providing further insight on label deals, transparency, fan data and song royalty chains.


In addition to the main ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ book, MMF has also published a series of free ‘Digital Dollar’ guides to help managers navigate and understand the music business in the digital age.

This guide explains the workings, legalities and pros and cons of the various different kinds of label and distribution deals available to artists today. It sets out the ten main deal types now on offer and explains how artists and their managers must balance the investment and services they receive from a label or distributor with how future income will be shared out.

This guide discusses how the streaming music market can become more transparent for artists and songwriters. It identifies the 20 pieces of data and information that artists and managers require from their business partners to fully understand and succeed in the streaming business, including usage data, royalty data and deal information.

This guide looks at all the fan data being gathered online, by the streaming platforms, but also all the other digital channels employed by artists and their business partners. It runs through the ten key kinds of fan data and where it is being gathered, and explains how an artist’s contracts and data protection law will both impact on who has the rights to access and use that information.

This guide explains the complexities and issues with the way streaming services pay songwriters. It outlines the deals done between the streaming business and the music publishing sector, and how this results in a series of royalty chains along which an assortment of delays, deductions and disputes can occur, impacting on how much money actually gets through.

This guide proposes a new way for licensing song rights and processing song royalties in the streaming domain, which would address current issues that mean the streaming income of songwriters is subject to delays and deductions, and monies might not flow at all due to bad data and disputes.

This guide explores how AI is impacting on the music industry, helping managers navigate and understand the opportunities and challenges posed by AI, and offering guidance on how they might advise their clients. It looks at how the music community is using, and will use, AI tools, and also considers some of the potential threats alongside how music-makers can safeguard their rights as ever more sophisticated AI models are developed.