A parliamentary report states that successful artists see “pitiful returns” from streaming, while some performers are frozen out of payments altogether.
The inquiry into the Economics of music streaming was launched in October 2020 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee, and received more than 300 pieces of written evidence.
Among artists and performers who gave evidence were songwriter and producer Nile Rodgers, Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, Elbow’s Guy Garvey and soloist Nadine Shah.
It took evidence from the UK’s independent music sector, as well as major record labels Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music. Spotify, Amazon, Apple and YouTube also gave evidence.
Following a wide-ranging inquiry that calls for a complete reset of the market, the DCMS committee concluded that artists must be given a legal right to a fairer share of revenues from streaming.
The report into the Economics of music streaming found that comprehensive reform of legislation and further regulation is needed, not only to redress the balance for songwriters, performers and composers, but to tackle fundamental problems within the recorded music industry.
Services that host user-generated content gain significant advantage on copyright, say MPs, with YouTube emerging as a dominant player.
The report warns of “deep concerns” about the unassailable position of the major music companies with a call for the Competition and Markets Authority to examine whether competition in the recorded music market is being distorted.
Though consumers enjoy music that is historically cheap, more personalised and more readily available than ever before, streaming’s short-term pricing structure puts music at risk in the long-term, say MPs.