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Culture select committee outlines the agenda of its economics of music streaming update session

By | Published on Monday 14 November 2022

Houses Of Parliament

The UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee has published more information about tomorrow’s hearing on the economics of music streaming, which will hear from representatives from three music industry organisations as well as three music business experts.

The select committee, of course, last year undertook a full inquiry into the economics of music streaming, putting the spotlight in particular on how artists and songwriters are benefiting – or not – from the streaming boom that took a declining recorded music market back into healthy growth.

MPs raised various concerns about how the streaming business currently works, concluding that artists and songwriters are not seeing a sufficient benefit. And in a lengthy report the committee called for a “complete reset” of the digital music sector.

In response to that report, the UK government’s Intellectual Property Office convened a music industry contact group made up of representatives from across the sector to discuss the issues raised by the committee and the various proposed solutions.

In terms of music-maker remuneration, three pieces of research were commissioned looking at the various proposals that had been made by the committee to alter the way artists and songwriters get paid.

Those were mainly copyright law reforms that would either allow artists and writers to renegotiate or terminate old deals with record labels and music publishers, or introduce an equitable remuneration system for streaming which would see artists get a cut of digital income directly via the collective licensing system.

In addition to that, the IPO organised two working groups to look at how music rights data management and transparency regarding digital licensing deals could be improved. Meanwhile the Competition & Markets Authority undertook a study to consider whether there were any competition law concerns with the way streaming currently works.

Tomorrow’s select committee hearing will likely touch on all those developments, as well as reviewing how the streaming economy has evolved over the last year.

In a statement this weekend, the committee confirmed that: “MPs will examine how the government, music industry and musicians have responded to the committee’s Economics Of Music Streaming report, one year on from its release. The committee will question representatives for music labels and musicians on whether the ‘reset of streaming’ urged in the committee’s report is underway”.

“MPs are expected to ask about the future of remuneration for musicians, after the committee found that artists were poorly compensated for the revenue brought in from music streaming”, it added. “The session may also cover the CMA’s investigation into the music industry”.

The session will kick off at 10am tomorrow and will hear from the Musicians’ Union’s Naomi Pohl, the Ivors Academy’s Tom Gray and the BPI’s Geoff Taylor, plus music business economist Will Page, IP expert Hayleigh Bosher and CMU’s Chris Cooke.