skip to main content

Fix Streaming: MU General Secretary at DCMS Select Committee

MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl appeared at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee on Tuesday to answer questions on music streaming and fair remuneration for musicians.

Published: 18 November 2022 | 12:19 PM Updated: 21 November 2022 | 4:43 PM
Laughing crowd at a fix streaming rally, violinist and camera person in view, everyone holding signs reading
It’s vital that we keep making our voices heard at every level. Together, we can fix streaming and keep music alive. Photo credit: Musicians' Union

MPs questioned Naomi and her fellow panellists about the progress that has been made in the industry working groups that were set up as a result of the Committee’s music streaming inquiry in 2020-2021.

Naomi told MPs that, although industry discussions have been encouraging in some areas, there has been virtually no progress on fair remuneration for performers, which was the single biggest issue for union members.

Remuneration was identified as a major problem when the Select Committee published its revolutionary report in summer 2021.

Major labels need to take fixing streaming seriously

As well as Naomi, the panel featured CEO of the BPI Geoff Taylor representing the labels, and Broken Record founder and Chair of The Ivors Academy Tom Gray.

Both Naomi and Tom Gray argued that the major record labels needed to come to the table to negotiate, but said they were prepared to be flexible about the methods for fair remuneration. Naomi said that measures could include equitable remuneration, a minimum digital royalty, and significantly larger upfront payments for sessions musicians.

She also argued in favour of greater industry regulation, making the point that voluntary codes of practice often fell down if there was no way of making a complaint when individuals or organisations did not stick to them.

It’s time to fix streaming

The Select Committee responded positively to the MU’s suggestions and will be publishing a memo in due course. They also committed to further evidence sessions next year to examine progress.

This is the most difficult part of the process. We are up against some powerful interest groups who argue that streaming is working - but we have the community of musicians and fans on our side. It’s vital that we keep making our voices heard at every level. Together, we can fix streaming and keep music alive.

Continue reading