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Government’s Response to DCMS Select Committee’s Streaming Report is Welcome

The MU, The Ivors Academy and Tom Gray, Founder of the #BrokenRecord Campaign welcome the Government’s response to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Streaming Report, but call for firm action now to put the value of music back in the hands of music makers.

Published: 22 September 2021 | 3:09 PM
Photograph of a bass musician standing on a busy looking stage with orange and purple light shining over them
Now is the time for a “complete reset” of the system to ensure that our fantastic musicians are fairly and properly rewarded for their work. Photo credit: Shutterstock

The MU, The Ivors Academy and Tom Gray, Founder of #BrokenRecord Campaign have welcomed the Government’s response to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee’s report into the Economics of music streaming, which has recognised the importance of ensuring that the UK’s artists and songwriters are fairly rewarded for their talent and work.

The Government’s response to the report – which backed calls from the #FixStreaming and #BrokenRecord campaigns to fix the current model of streaming to ensure that artists receive fair rewards for their work – has committed to conducting further research into “Creators’ Earnings in the Digital Age”.

The #FixStreaming and #BrokenRecord campaigns are keen to see how this research might further illustrate the importance of a right to equitable remuneration.

Needs highlighted by the Government’s repsonse

Additionally, the campaigns are pleased that the Government has referred the dominance of the major music groups to the CMA – one of the key asks of the campaigns – which will help to address the extraordinary power wielded by multinational corporations over the marketplace.

Beyond this, the Government’s response has highlighted the need to:

  • Set up an industry contact group and technical stakeholder groups
  • Conduct a research programme, alongside stakeholder engagement to consider the issues around streaming
  • Convene a technical working group to improve transparency in the streaming sector for the benefit of musicians

It is essential that the above recommendations for working groups and further research include creator representation and input to ensure that the interests of the UK’s fantastic artists, musicians and songwriters are not ignored.

We are pleased that the door is open to explore in more detail

The Government must, however, go much further in committing to the implementation of a package of copyright reforms which will ensure UK creators do not fall behind other countries who have measures which enable creators to be protected from bad contracts, unfair payment, lack of transparency with increased ability to undertake contract reversion and adjustment.

Reforms such as these would go a long way to transforming the UK into the best place to be a musician, songwriter or composer in the world.

Horace Trubridge, General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union, said:

“We are pleased that the Government has responded positively to the Select Committee’s report into the Economics of Music Streaming, and has understood why we are seeking equitable remuneration for musicians. While we are disappointed that there isn’t an immediate commitment from the Government on this point, we are pleased that the door is open to explore it in more detail.

“As highlighted by the Committee’s report, now is the time for a “complete reset” of the system to ensure that our fantastic musicians are fairly and properly rewarded for their work. A Private Members' Bill will be put before Parliament in December which will present legislative solutions to ensure artists get the rewards from their work which they deserve.”

The response shows a willingness to engage with our key concerns

Naomi Pohl, Deputy Secretary General of the Musicians’ Union, said:

“It is fantastic that the Government is willing to further investigate streaming economics with a view to ensuring performers and songwriters get a fairer deal.

“The Government’s response to the DCMS Select Committee’s report shows a willingness to engage with our key concerns around unfair remuneration and address what the report described as “deep concerns” around the dominance of the major music companies.”

Graham Davies, CEO of The Ivors Academy, said:

“This is an exciting moment and opportunity for change which we fully embrace. We are pleased the Government has recognised that the global streaming environment must be transparent and fair.

“They have accepted that the music industry is failing in a number of areas, and needs help to embrace this modernisation and reform agenda. Like us, the Government sees the growth and benefits that will come from a modern music industry that properly rewards creators.”

Tom Gray, Founder of the #BrokenRecord Campaign, said:

“The Government have accepted that our critique and the inequities facing music-makers are all too real. But the tens of thousands of British musicians, songwriters, producers and artists are not merely ‘stakeholders’.

“Unlike multinational corporations, we are citizens, constituents and taxpayers. Now is the time to redouble our efforts and challenge our political leaders to truly represent us. Change is possible and should be made real.”

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