MPs Call For Fairer Royalty Payments For Musicians In New Inquiry

MPs Call For Fairer Royalty Payments For Musicians In New Inquiry

July 15, 2021

Over the years there have been countless horror stories of labels, streaming services and pretty much everyone but the musicians reaping the benefits of their hard work and intellectual property.

However, following months of investigation, studies and testimony from artists themselves, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee are calling for a "complete reset" into the way royalties are distributed through streaming services. In December last year it was reported that 82% of musicians earned less than £200 from streaming in 2019.

Although streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music and Google Play are said to account for over half of the revenue in today's global industry, the Committee have uncovered that artists are taking home the smallest percentage of this mass income. While these platforms play a huge role in the overall trajectory of an artist's career and the music business, what happens next?

However, Julian Knight, MP, who chairs the DCMS committee, commented: "While streaming has brought significant profits to the recorded music industry, the talent behind it—performers, songwriters and composers—are losing out. Only a complete reset of streaming that enshrines in law their rights to a fair share of the earnings will do."

One of the central recommendations made by the DCMS committee is what's known as 'equitable remuneration', which would reclassify streams as rentals and thus entitle artists to 50% of the generated recorded music royalties. They also recommended that artists be afforded the right to renegotiate contracts, reclaim their rights after a certain period, and that Warner and Universal Music should follow Sony's example by cancelling their artists' historical debts.

MPs are also working to review the current business models and laws that are impacting artists, streaming platforms and consumers, allowing musicians to reclaim ownership of their work. Extra pressure will be applied when looking into the power imbalance between artists and labels, the majors like Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music will be referred to the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) by the UK Government.

Despite the complexities of the topic, these are promising steps. All eyes are now on the government to see if they respond or, better yet, put the DCMS committee's recommendations into action.

You can read the full report via the Tweet below.