MPs on the DCMS Committee have delivered their verdict on the streaming economy and its key players in a highly-anticipated new report.
You can read all the recommendations and Music Week’s analysis here. The most eye-catching proposals include a call for the Competitions & Markets Authority to investigate the potential dominance of the majors, as well as the introduction of equitable remuneration for streaming royalties.
As the government considers the recommendations, the lobbying effort from organisations across the industry will now intensify. Here’s all the reaction from the main voices in the debate so far...
Geoff Taylor, chief executive, BPI
"The UK’s global success in music is driven by label investment in new artists, creating music that is loved around the world and contributing more than £1.5 billion a year to the UK economy. Streaming is enabling more artists than ever, from all genres, to earn a long-term income: more than 2,000 artists will achieve 10 million streams this year in the UK alone, double the number who sold the equivalent number of CDs and downloads in 2007.
“When considering this report, the government also needs to consider the vital role that labels play as the leading investors into artists’ careers, with investment in artists by record labels growing year-on-year. Artists also now have more choice in how to manage their careers, with independent and self-releasing artists growing their share of the market.
"Labels are committed to ensuring that artists share fairly in the growth from streaming. We will carefully examine the findings of this report, but it is essential that any policy proposals avoid unintended consequences for investment into new talent, and do not imperil this country’s extraordinary global success in music."
Labels are committed to ensuring that artists share fairly in the growth from streaming
Paul Pacifico, CEO of AIM
"The select committee has impressively zeroed in on some of the key issues in music and many of the report's findings endorse and vindicate the ethical practices of the independent music community. The independent community is founded on fair dealing and we believe the MPs have tried to make recommendations that benefit creators in good faith.
“However, our view is that equitable remuneration will not deliver the outcome they are hoping for. It is a 20th century solution not fit for the 21st century digital market and will leave the next generation of artists worse off. We look forward to examining the findings in detail and continuing to work with all our partners in music and beyond to deliver successful, strong, inclusive and diverse outcomes for music."
Horace Trubridge, general secretary, Musicians’ Union
“As we all emerge from the horrors of the pandemic, the government’s levelling up agenda is more important than ever. Our industry has been on its knees and if we want to preserve our cultural heritage, bring opportunity to all four corners of the UK and keep musical talent in Britain, we’ve got to fix streaming and stop exporting millions of pounds to huge record labels and their owners overseas.
“This cross-party report is revolutionary. It grasps the issue, identifies the problems and recommends achievable and practical solutions, which won’t cost the taxpayer a penny.
“It’s time to make the most of this rare, cross-party consensus, bring British copyright law up to date, show Global Britain leading the fight to protect the intellectual property of artists and creators, and make the UK the best place to be a musician.”
Tom Gray, founder of the #BrokenRecord Campaign
“The report brilliantly and coherently cuts to the chase: the music industry has a serious problem. Profits are soaring, margins are better than ever, the value of the once piracy-blighted industry is forecast to eclipse anything seen in our lifetimes within a decade, but performers and songwriters are being left well behind.”
“As we’ve repeated, rather like a broken record, it’s a failing market where corporations have little incentive to share their extraordinary profits with the architects of their success, musicians.”
“This goes to show that when artists come together and speak honestly about our experiences and those of our peers, our politicians can easily surmise the reality – the public too. This is not about getting more money for wealthy musicians, that mythology ought to be long dead. This is about preserving a national treasure into the future: our extraordinary, diverse British musical talent.”
The report brilliantly and coherently cuts to the chase: the music industry has a serious problem
Crispin Hunt, chair of The Ivors Academy
“Today is a great day for musicians and music creators. This cross-party report gives the government the firepower and political mandate it needs to secure the commercial, professional and artistic futures of many thousands of British music creators, and to keep their value here in Britain.
“For too long, foreign owned major record labels have recklessly gambled with the UK music economy and the future of British music. The true innovators and creators are our musicians and composers, and by acting on the committee’s thoughtful recommendations, the government will do so much good for so many - musicians and listeners alike.”
MMF & FAC joint response
“We welcome today’s landmark report from Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee calling for artists, composers and musicians to benefit more equally from the boom in online streaming.
“This is a serious and comprehensive piece of work. It contains a wide range of recommendations, many of which, if implemented, could fundamentally reset and improve the current economic model for recorded music. It demands quite clearly that those companies and corporations regarded historically as ‘rights-holders’ must urgently modernise their business practices, and go further and faster in their pace of reform.
“Beneath the headlines, we are especially pleased the committee has recommended tackling many long-running market dysfunctions - for instance, that legacy recording deals are overhauled, that artists can recapture their rights, and that inefficiencies and inequalities around songwriter ‘royalty chains’ and ‘black box’ allocations are challenged. These issues should be low-hanging fruit. Addressing them now would have a transformative and material impact on the livelihoods of all artists, songwriters, performers and producers.
“More broadly, we welcome the idea of a market-wide investigation by the Competition & Markets Authority and, going forward, we urge the government to ensure there is a robust, transparent and evidence-led response to this report that involves all voices in our industry - including young and emerging artists who have grown up in a streaming environment.
“This is a once in a lifetime moment to reset our business along fairer and more equitable lines, it is not an opportunity to be wasted.”
Helen Smith, IMPALA’s executive chair
“The DCMS report touches upon very important questions surrounding the music market as a whole, and it is crucial to look at different options. There are many opportunities to make streaming fairer for all, and we see music services and streaming platforms as our key partners for doing so. They are a vital part of today’s music market and we look forward to working with them and the whole ecosystem to improve the situation for musicians, labels, and of course, fans.”
“We support reform of streaming and we recently set out concrete ways of doing that in our 10-point plan to make streaming fairer. IMPALA cannot support equitable remuneration on streaming as we believe it is not in fact equitable. Our assessment is that it would be damaging for diversity and emerging artists.”
“We look forward to seeing the options proposed by IMPALA and others in the independent community assessed as part of any next steps and we urge decision makers to look carefully at how risk works in the ecosystem and the evolution of remuneration in each section of the music community.”
Roberto Neri, chair, MPA
"The song is the heart of the music business and songwriters are at the heart of the music publishing business. The inquiry recognises the vital publisher-songwriter partnership. Publishers have always advocated for and will continue to fight for the value of the song on behalf of songwriters. We welcome attention being paid by the government to the distortions created in the digital ecosystem by safe harbours and piracy."
Kim Bayley, CEO, ERA
“We were among the first to welcome this inquiry and overwhelmingly we welcome the results. While not every ERA member will subscribe to every recommendation, we are delighted at the strong recognition of the significant benefits music streaming services have brought both to music fans and to the music industry. None of these benefits would have come without the ingenuity and investment of our members.
“Nonetheless we - like the committee itself - acknowledge the concerns felt by many in the artist and songwriter community about remuneration from streaming. Our focus will be to continue to be to grow the size of the overall pie to the benefit of everyone, artists and songwriters alike.”