TUESDAY 12 DECEMBER 2023

The Council Of Music Makers calls on MPs to hold the music industry’s feet to the fire to ensure artists, songwriters, musicians and producers get a fair deal from music streaming.

The Council Of Music Makers, which brings together representative UK organisations for artists, songwriters and composers, musicians, music producers and music managers, has raised grave concerns that promised reforms of the music streaming market have stalled.

Their warning comes ahead of a meeting at 10.20am this morning of the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee, where experts including Nile Rodgers and VV Brown will again discuss issues of “creator remuneration” when music is consumed on services such as Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Deezer and Tidal.

The Council Of Music Makers says: “It’s been over two years since the CMS Select Committee called for a complete reset of the UK’s music streaming business to address a wide range of market dysfunctions. Their groundbreaking report brought the entire industry to the table for the first time. However, despite some progress on improving data and transparency, the most contentious issues around music maker remuneration are yet to be explored. This is an intolerable situation for the UK’s artists, songwriters, musicians and producers. We urgently need MPs and the government to help get industry discussions back on track, so that together we can deliver solutions in 2024″.

Nile Rodgers says: “We have said this many times before but it’s important to keep repeating it until change takes place. There is no music industry of any kind without the songwriter being there first. They are the catalyst for every aspect of the industry yet they are the lowest paid. At a point in time where there has never been greater consumption of music or profits, thanks to the streaming economy, the importance of the songwriter must be reflected in higher remuneration”.

VV Brown says: “Snoop Dogg shared his 2023 Spotify Wrapped, revealing his publisher’s words that a billion streams generated just $45,000 in income. If we can’t discern the issue here, then the world seems truly inverted. As an artist, I must find ways to leverage my platform for change whether it be small or big”.

In July 2021, the Committee published a groundbreaking report on the economics of streaming, which found that the “label-centric” systems underpinning the streaming business, while delivering record profits to the biggest music rightsholders, were failing to adequately reward artists and other music makers.

The report concluded that the streaming market required a “complete reset”.

On the back of its recommendations, the UK government urged the music industry to find voluntary solutions to solve long-term market dysfunctions around transparency, metadata and remuneration. A group of industry representatives was tasked with addressing these issues at the Intellectual Property Office.

However, despite some initial steps forward, such as the establishment of pan-industry codes on metadata (published in May) and transparency (set to be launched in the new year), progress elsewhere has stalled.

Most significantly, a working group to explore reforms of how music makers get paid – announced by the government more than six months ago – is still to meet. We have no detail on who will be on the group or even its remit for discussion.

Meanwhile, without any consultation with or oversight from artists, music makers or their representatives, the three major labels have embarked on their own unilateral programme of reform – encouraging streaming platforms to adopt what the labels described as a new “artist-centric” model.

Conversely, this ‘reverse robin hood’ approach appears to benefit the major labels, taking from the poor artists to give to the rich, while bypassing all the necessary reforms that would tangibly benefit those who write, record, play and produce the music we love.

As a result of this situation, the Council Of Music Makers has today published an updated score card on the five fundamental changes that we believe are essential if music streaming is to deliver on its full potential – tracking progress on each objective.

We are again urging the CMS Committee to help pressure the UK government to “walk the walk” and deliver the long overdue “reset” of streaming that the UK’s music community so desperately requires.