The report adds weight to arguments made by the Musicians’ Union and The Ivors Academy, alongside thousands of petition signatories and 234 artists including Sir Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, Kate Bush, Emeli Sandé, Beverley Knight, and The Rolling Stones.
Major labels define streaming as “making available”, which allows them to do direct deals with platforms and keep most of the revenue instead of giving creators a fair and guaranteed income stream. But this doesn’t reflect how people use streaming services, and it takes money away from musicians like you.
That’s why our top ask is to reclassify streaming to something more like a “communication to the public” – like radio. “That way, the money is split 50/50 between the record labels and the artists,” MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge told MPs on the Music Streaming Inquiry.
Acknowledging that streaming may be hybrid in nature with curated playlists and interactive elements, WIPO’s report backs up our call stating, “Streaming remuneration likely should be considered for a communication to the public right. That right is implicated by the various types of playlists created by interactive streaming services and which services acknowledge are a substitute for broadcast radio during questioning at the DCMS Inquiry.”
Moreover, WIPO’s report concludes, “It seems that the policy goals and principles of equitable remuneration are best fulfilled by a streaming remuneration in the nature of a communication to the public royalty that is outside of any recording agreement, is not waivable by the performer and it is collected and distributed by performers’ CMOs.”
Payments for our session and orchestral members
The MU has been making the case for session and orchestral musicians who currently earn nothing from the streaming of their work – something both Horace and #BrokenRecord founder Tom Gray raised in their oral evidence to MPs as part of the Music Streaming Inquiry.
WIPO agrees, “This streaming-fuelled success has not trickled down to performers, especially non-featured performers. The more global revenues surge, the harder it is for performers to understand why the imbalance is fair – because it is not.”
At the heart of the Fix Streaming campaign, and the evidence given by artists and performers to the Music Streaming Inquiry, is that injustice. Everyone should be paid fairly for their work. You should get a fair share of the value you help create.
It’s time to fix streaming and keep music alive
Thousands of songwriters, composers and performers are uniting behind three key asks:
- Change two words in the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act to modernise the law so that today’s performers receive a fair share of streaming revenue, just like they enjoy in radio
- Make an immediate government referral to the Competition and Markets Authority as the first step to addressing the extraordinary power wielded by multinational corporations at the expense of songwriters
- Put in place a regulator to ensure the lawful and fair treatment of all music makers by the industry.
Add your voice to the call. Sign the petition to fix streaming and put the value of music back where it belongs – in your hands.
Find out more about the campaign, and the latest news and actions, in our Fix Streaming hub. If you’re an MU member, log in to My MU and make sure you’re opted in to receive news emails to get the latest Fix Streaming news in your inbox.