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New Bill Calls For a Better Deal For Musicians and Songwriters From Streaming

MU member Kevin Brennan MP’s Private Members Bill, calling for a better deal for musicians and songwriters, is backed by eleven cross party MPs including Damian Green and Esther McVey.

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By Maddy Radcliff Published: 22 June 2021 | 2:17 PM Updated: 22 June 2021 | 3:15 PM
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By tightening up the law so that music streaming pays more like radio, streaming income will be put back where it belongs – in your hands. Photo credit: Shutterstock

The next step is a debate on the Copyright (Rights and Remuneration of Musicians, Etc.) Bill, which will take place on Friday 3 December.

Part of the campaign to fix streaming

It follows more than a year of campaigning by the MU and The Ivors Academy under the Fix Streaming umbrella, and the Broken Record campaign led by MU member Tom Gray.

That includes a successful call for a Government review into streaming that led to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee launching the Music Streaming Inquiry in the second half of last year. The inquiry, which heard from artists and organisations including the MU and major labels, is set to release its report soon.

It also includes a letter to the Prime Minister from the MU, The Ivors Academy, and Broken Record campaign signed by 234 artists – including The Rolling Stones, Sir Paul McCartney, Beverley Knight, Annie Lennox, Kate Bush, Laura Mvula, The Chemical Brothers and Kano – calling for a better deal for musicians and songwriters from streaming.

Together, we are calling for a change to two words in the 1988 Copyright Designs and Patents Act which would secure guaranteed royalties for performers.

By tightening up the law so that music streaming pays more like radio, streaming income will be put back where it belongs – in your hands. 

Creating a new right to fair remuneration

Kevin Brennan MP (Labour, Cardiff West) said: “Musicians' earnings have been devastated by the closing down of gigs which has helped highlight how they are not getting a fair share of record streaming revenues - my Bill will create a new right to fair remuneration for musicians when their work is played on streaming platforms”

Delivering on the PM’s “levelling up” agenda

Esther McVey MP (Conservative, Tatton) said:

“Streaming has created huge opportunities for musicians, but a gap in the law means most of the income ends in the pockets of record labels, streaming platforms and digital giants, rather than in the hands of the artists.

“This Bill will help us fix streaming law so that creators and musicians get a fair share after one of the toughest years imaginable, artistic value stays here in Britain, and so that we deliver on the PM’s levelling up agenda and bring opportunity to all four corners of the UK.”

Fixing streaming has cross-party support

Naomi Pohl, MU Deputy General Secretary, said:

“We are thrilled that this Bill backing our campaign to secure fairer remuneration for musicians from streaming has received its first reading today. The fact that it has cross-party support is much appreciated and extremely encouraging.

“Thanks to Kevin Brennan MP, an MU member, who has been tireless in his efforts to highlight the struggles of today’s performers and creators. We can #FixStreaming. This Bill is a major milestone.”

More MPs supporting the bill include Karen Buck MP (Conservative, Westminster North), Alex Davies-Jones MP (Labour, Pontypridd), Claire Hanna MP (SDLP, Belfast South), Jim Shannon MP (DUP, Strangford), and Pete Wishart MP (SNP, Perth and North Perthshire).

Further support comes from Ben Lake MP (Plaid Cymru, Ceredigion), Abena Oppong-Asare MP (Labour, Erith and Thamesmead), Sir Greg Knight MP (Conservative, East Yorkshire) and David Warburton MP (Conservative, Somerton and  Frome).  

An opportunity to grow our world leading creative industries

Graham Davies, CEO of The Ivors Academy, said:

“We have a fantastic opportunity to grow the UK’s creative industries by reforming copyright and contracts. These reforms are long overdue. The UK is a world-leader in the creation of music and digital content, but global competition is fierce, and we must not fall behind.

“Providing fair compensation for songwriters, composers and artists will ensure we retain our position as a cultural powerhouse. Many thanks to Kevin Brennan for spearheading these much-needed reforms with this Bill.”


We can fix streaming

Call on Government to put the value of music back where it belongs – in your hands.

We can fix streaming

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