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(Credit: Freguesia de Estrela)

MPs back “complete reset” to help performers on streaming services

A report from the Economics Of Music Streaming inquiry has concluded that streaming services need a “complete reset”.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Commons Select Committee have been looking into the business model of streaming services since 2020 and believe that change is necessary. In their current incarnation, companies like Spotify do not operate fairly for songwriters, the inquiry judged.

MPs have called for a “complete reset of streaming” that “enshrines in law [artists’] rights to a fair share of the earnings”.

DCMS Committee chair Julian Knight said: “While streaming has brought significant profits to the recorded music industry, the talent behind it – performers, songwriters and composers – are losing out.”

He added: “The issues we’ve examined reflect much deeper and more fundamental problems within the structuring of the recorded music industry itself. We have real concerns about the way the market is operating, with platforms like YouTube able to gain an unfair advantage over competitors and the independent music sector struggling to compete against the dominance of the major labels.”

In April, the #BrokenRecord campaign was launched by Tom Gray from Gomez and received support from an array of high profile figures. Paul McCartney, Kate Bush, Blur’s Damon Albarn, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Oasis’ Noel Gallagher and Wolf Alice all signed an open letter to Boris Johnson, which demanded the Prime Minister do something about the inequality of streaming platforms.

“It feels like a massive vindication,” Gray commented. “They’ve really come to the same conclusions that we’ve been saying for a very long time.”

What are the recommendations?

  • Musicians should be allowed to reclaim the rights to their work from labels after a set period of time.
  • The government should explore ways to ensure songwriters can have sustainable careers through streaming.
  • Playlist curators for streaming services need to follow a “code of conduct” to avoid bribes and favouritism.
  • Create legislation that allows artists to receive equitable remuneration for streaming income.
  • Transparency from publishers to artists about the full economic scale of streaming services.
  • Warner and Universal Music should cancel their artists’ historical debts as Sony have done with artists.

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