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Letter Calling on PM to Fix Streaming Now

Updated: 20 April 2021 | 11:45 AM

This is a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed by over 150 major artists calling for three practical changes to fix streaming and put the value of music back where it belongs - in the hands of music makers. The letter is supported by the Musicians' Union and The Ivors Academy in partnership with the Broken Record campaign.

The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP , Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street 

20 April, 2021

Dear Prime Minister,

We write to you on behalf of today’s generation of artists, musicians and songwriters here in the UK.
For too long, streaming platforms, record labels and other internet giants have exploited performers and creators without rewarding them fairly. We must put the value of music back where it belongs – in the hands of music makers.

Streaming is quickly replacing radio as our main means of music communication. However, the law has not kept up with the pace of technological change and, as a result, performers and songwriters do not enjoy the same protections as they do in radio.

Today’s musicians receive very little income from their performances – most featured artists receive tiny fractions of a US cent per stream and session musicians receive nothing at all.

To remedy this, only two words need to change in the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. This will modernise the law so that today’s performers receive a share of revenues, just like they enjoy in radio. It won’t cost the taxpayer a penny but will put more money in the pockets of UK taxpayers and raise revenues for public services like the NHS.

There is evidence of multinational corporations wielding extraordinary power and songwriters struggling as a result. An immediate government referral to the Competition and Markets Authority is the first step to address this. Songwriters earn 50% of radio revenues, but only 15% in streaming. We believe that in a truly free market the song will achieve greater value.

Ultimately though, we need a regulator to ensure the lawful and fair treatment of music makers. The UK has a proud history of protecting its producers, entrepreneurs and inventors.We believe British creators deserve the same protections as other industries whose work is devalued when exploited as a loss-leader.

By addressing these problems, we will make the UK the best place in the world to be a musician or a songwriter, allow recording studios and the UK session scene to thrive once again, strengthen our world leading cultural sector, allow the market for recorded music to flourish for listeners and creators, and unearth a new generation of talent.

We urge you to take these forward and ensure the music industry is part of your levelling-up agenda as we kickstart the post-Covid economic recovery.

Yours Sincerely,

Damon Albarn OBE, Lily Allen, Wolf Alice, Marc Almond OBE, Joan Armatrading CBE, David Arnold, Massive Attack, Jazzie B OBE, Adam Bainbridge (Kindness), Emily Barker, Gary Barlow OBE, Geoff Barrow, Django Bates, Brian Bennett OBE, Fiona Bevan, Aflie Boe OBE, Billy Bragg, The Chemical Brothers, Kate Bush CBE, Melanie C, Eliza Carthy MBE, Martin Carthy MBE, Celeste, Guy Chambers, Mike Batt LVO, Don Black OBE, Badly Drawn Boy, Chrissy Boy, Tim Burgess, Mairéad Carlin, Laura-Mary Carter, Nicky Chinn, Dame Sarah Connolly DBE, Phil Coulter, Roger Daltrey CBE, Catherine Anne Davies (The Anchoress), Ian Devaney, Chris Difford, Al Doyle, Anne Dudley, Brian Eno, Self Esteem, James Fagan, Paloma Faith, Marianne Faithfull, George Fenton, Rebecca Ferguson, Robert Fripp, Shy FX, Gabrielle, Peter Gabriel, Noel Gallagher, Guy Garvey, Bob Geld of KBE, Boy George, David Gilmour CBE, Nigel Godrich, Howard Goodall CBE, Jimi Goodwin, Graham Gouldman, Tom Gray, Roger Greenaway OBE, Will Gregory, Ed Harcourt. Tony Hatch OBE, Richard Hawley, Justin Hayward, Fran Healy, Orlando Higginbottom, Jools Holland OBE, DL, Mick Hucknall, Crispin Hunt, Shabaka Hutchings, Eric Idle, John Paul Jones, Julian Joseph OBE, Kano, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Gary Kemp, Nancy Kerr, Richard Kerr, Soweto Kinch, Beverley Knight MBE, Mark Knopfler OBE, Annie Lennox OBE, Shaznay Lewis, Gary Lightbody OBE, Tasmin Little OBE, Calum MacColl, Roots Manuva, Laura Marling, Johnny Marr, Chris Martin, Claire Martin OBE, Cerys Matthews MBE, Sir Paul McCartney CH MBE, Horse McDonald, Thurston Moore, Gary “Mani” Mounfield, Mitch Murray CBE, Field Music, Frank Musker, Laura Mvula, Kate Nash, Stevie Nicks, Orbital, Roland Orzabal, Gary Osborne, Jimmy Page OBE,  Hannah Peel, Daniel Pemberton,Yannis Philippakis, Anna Phoebe, Phil Pickett, Robert Plant CBE, Karine Polwart, Emily Portman, Chris Rea, Eddi Reader MBE, Sir Tim Rice, Orphy Robinson MBE, Matthew Rose, Nitin Sawhney CBE, Anil Sebastian, Peggy Seeger, Nadine Shah, Feargal Sharkey OBE, Shura, Labi Siffre, Martin Simpson, Skin, Mike Skinner, Curt Smith, Fraser T Smith, Robert Smith, Sharleen Spiteri, Lisa Stansfield, Sting CBE, Suggs, Tony Swain, Heidi Talbot, John Taylor, Phil Thornalley, KT Tunstall, Ruby Turner MBE, Becky Unthank, Norma Waterson MBE, Cleveland Watkiss MBE, Jessie Ware, Bruce Welch OBE, Kitty Whately, Ricky Wilde, Olivia Williams, Daniel “Woody” Woodgate, Midge Ure OBE, Nikki Yeoh