In July last year, an interparliamentary committee in the UK called on the country’s government to take action on a number of music industry issues surrounding streaming payments.
In that inquiry report, MPs called for a “comprehensive reset” of music streaming.
One of the key recommendations of the DCMS report was that the dominance of the majors over the UK recording industry should be reported to Britain’s competition watchdog, the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA).
The MPs behind the streaming inquiry, led by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee (DCMS), have also called on the UK government to introduce a right for artists to earn “compensation fair” on digital platforms.
The introduction of ‘equitable remuneration’ would have seen non-interactive music playbacks on platforms such as Spotify treated under UK law as ‘rentals’, with 50% of royalties generated on recorded music being paid directly to performers through a collecting society.
In September 2021, the UK government announced that it would not take any legislative action following the recommendations of the inquiry.
The CMA announced in October 2021 that it intended to launch a study of the music streaming market in the country following the UK government’s response to the report on the streaming economy.
In January this year the competition regulator in the UK officially did so, and then in July the CMA confirmed that it was offering not to pursue a large-scale investigation into the UK music streaming industry.
Tuesday (November 15) a was organized by the DCMS Select Committee to follow up on findings and progress on recommendations from last year’s investigation.
The session saw music label representatives and musicians questioned “on whether the ‘streaming reset’ urged in the Committee’s report is underway”.
Among those present at the session were Tom Gray, president of the Ivors Academy; Naomi Pohl, Secretary General of the Union of Musicians, and Geoff Taylor, Director General of the BPI, the trade body representing major and independent labels in the UK.
You can watch the hearing here.
“Artists today are enjoying greater success and more choice than ever before, but with 100,000 tracks uploaded to Spotify every day, the label’s role has never been more important in helping them realize their potential. creative and commercial.”
Following the hearing, a BPI spokesperson said in a statement, “We were pleased to update the Committee on the significant progress made by the industry.
They added: “Today, artists have more success and more choices than ever before, but with 100,000 tracks uploaded to Spotify every day, the label’s role has never been more important in helping them achieve their creative and commercial potential.
“Our collective aim must be to grow the streaming economy for the benefit of all, while avoiding policies that would harm the next generation of talent and undermine the UK’s global competitiveness.”
OBJECTIVE CEO Paul Pacifico, who testified at the initial inquiry, said the following in a statement: “It is good to see that the select committee continues to focus on the key issues regarding the ongoing debate and move forward collaborative conversations between stakeholders.
“The industry must continue to move closer to agreeing on solutions that will improve opportunities for creators without undermining the commercial industry or damaging the UK’s place in the global streaming market.”
“It’s a tragedy that the great work and recommendations of the DCMS Select Committee on how to improve the streaming economy for songwriters and artists is being ignored.”
Merck Mercuriadis, Hipgnosis Song Management
Merck Mercuriadis, CEO and Founder of Hipgnosis Song Management, praised the sessions in a statement on Wednesday, November 16, but said that “It’s a tragedy that the great work and recommendations of the DCMS Select Committee on how to improve the streaming economy for songwriters and artists is being ignored.”
He added: “Yesterday’s hearing showed that a year later, virtually no progress has been made in addressing the Committee’s recommendations and, remarkably, the Transparency Task Force operates in secret, behind closed doors. ”
“The Committee’s July 2021 report called on the government to refer major recorded music companies to the CMA and competition regulator to investigate market failures, in particular addressing the Committee’s concerns about market distortions. streaming market that result in songwriters not being paid fairly and equitably. in the streaming bonanza.
“The Committee’s report identified the problems caused by the lack of transparency, the persistence market dominance by large recorded music companies and the resulting negative impact this has on the songwriters meaning the songwriters have no say and don’t know what or when they will be paid; Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), which block and deny legitimate information about payments to songwriters and artists; and perpetual contracts, which never considered streaming but are used to bind songwriters and artists to terms and conditions that are outdated and do not reflect how the market has changed over the decades.
Mercuriadis continued: “While in its July 2022 interim report the CMA acknowledges these issues, the CMA has so far failed to remedy these obvious failures.
“Songwriters and music publishers should be free to negotiate terms that recognize that they provide the motto of our industry, the song. In the present state of recorded music companies owning and controlling major publishing houses result in a distorted streaming economy for songwriters because the labels are able to dictate that most money goes to recorded music where they have the biggest margin to the detriment of the songwriter and the artist.
“I have written to the committee and am grateful to the DCMS select committee and to Sir Julian Knight for not backing down from their demand for better remuneration for musicians and their efforts to set a broken music delivery system where artists continue to be poorly compensated for revenue from music streaming.
“The CMA has the power to correct the distortion of the streaming music economy by imposing, their final report, true transparency, removing unnecessary NDAs and allowing songwriters and artists under perpetual contract the right to change. This will go a long way in providing a fair share of streaming revenue for artists and songwriters. The music industry around the world