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Government promises ‘meaningful and lasting improvements’ to music streaming

The government said it was committed to making “meaningful and lasting improvements” in response to a report on music streaming published by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Commission (DCMS).

DCMS released a follow-up report, The Economics of Music Streaming, in January, arguing that musicians deserve a fairer share of revenue and that the music streaming market should be “completely reset.”

In response to the Commission’s 2021 report following its initial report, the government has agreed to publish the agenda and minutes of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) Working Group on Metadata and Transparency.

The DCMS Committee’s follow-up report also recommended that the IPO establish a Remuneration and Performers’ Rights Working Group to consider current evidence and monitor developments in other countries.

Jonathan Stewart's handout photo of members of the Musicians Union, Ivors Academy and MPs in Parliament Square, Westminster on 24th November 2021 highlights a new parliamentary Bill, which seeks to ensure artists are 'fairly paid' for their music streams

Members of the Musicians Union, Ivors Academy and Councilor for Parliament Square (Jonathan Stewart/PA)

Following the government’s response, Damian Green, acting chair of the DCMS committee and Conservative MP, said: “We are delighted that the government has committed to ‘meaningful and lasting improvements’ to streaming in its response to our follow-up report on music streaming.

“Our initial inquiry called for a ‘complete reset’ of streaming in response to the problems faced by professional musicians and independent companies in the industry, emphasizing the need for fair pay.

“Publishing information on the work of industry liaison groups, transparency and metadata working groups, and research projects on remuneration and rights restoration will drive debate and policy discussion.”

He continued: “We also welcome the steps ministers have taken to engage in this process and take a more strategic approach to developing cultural policy. We would like to see a renewed focus on building international partnerships so we can promote the UK around the world creative industries.

Spotify application displayed on a Samsung smartphone

Spotify was one of the streamers to provide evidence for the investigation (Lauren Hurley/PA)

“We also note that our follow-up report requested evidence from the three major music groups that royalties were paid to traditional artists as recommended during our initial investigation. The committee would like to see concrete action from government, regulators and industry in response to its report and will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

The inquiry into the economics of music streaming received more than 300 written evidence since its launch in October 2020.

Artists and performers who gave evidence include songwriter and producer Nile Rogers, Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, Elbow’s Guy Garvey and singer-songwriter Nadine Shah.

The inquiry also drew evidence from the UK’s independent music sector, as well as major labels Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music. Spotify, Amazon, Apple and YouTube also provided evidence.

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