Senior figures from across the UK music industry have welcomed a government announcement this week, which is designed to improve music streaming metadata and deliver ‘more accurate and timely payments’ for creators. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) published the UK Industry Agreement on Music Streaming Metadata on May 31.
Music streaming metadata is information which describes who contributed to a track’s creation, from the writer to the owner and anyone who contributed to the recording. The voluntary agreement outlines a commitment from players across the UK music streaming industry to improve metadata in new recordings and deliver consistent crediting on streaming services over a two-year period.
The government will also establish a working group to explore and consider industry-led actions on remuneration for existing and future creators, acknowledging recent progress by music companies in this space. The working group will be composed of representatives and experts from across the music sector and will consider the research and progress already made in this area. This includes the research commissioned and published by the IPO on music creators’ earnings and copyright.
Viscount Camrose, Minister for AI and Intellectual Property, said: “I am delighted to announce the publication today of the UK industry agreement on music streaming metadata, and the establishment of a further working group on creator remuneration. This has been a fantastic collaboration between industry experts, and the Intellectual Property Office.
“Good quality metadata benefits everyone who creates and enjoys music. The agreement on metadata is a positive commitment by the music industry to improve the quality of metadata in the UK. I am very pleased to see the wide range of organisations which are signatories to the agreement, and I look forward to seeing the further progress that industry makes on metadata over the next two years.”
John Whittingdale, Minister for the Creative Industries, said: “The UK is a hotbed for world-beating musical talent but as technology advances we need our thriving music industry to continue to offer viable career opportunities.
“This landmark agreement on streaming metadata is a step towards ensuring UK musicians in the digital age are fairly credited and compensated for their contributions and creativity. Alongside the IPO I’m pleased to be bringing the industry together so we can explore wider issues around music creator remuneration more generally.”
Numerous senior executives and music industry figureheads have responded positively to the news.
Graham Davies, CEO, The Ivors Academy: “Currently a fraction of recordings being streamed properly credit the people that wrote and published the song. This is bad for the creators who lose their due recognition and payment, this is bad for the consumer who wishes to know and search for this information, it is bad for digital service providers who wish to enhance the consumer experience, it is bad for the industry whose job it is to pay the rightsholders in a timely and accurate way. The Ivors Academy originally raised this issue with the DCMS Select Committee and are pleased that this code gives us the first proper step on a journey of closing the metadata gap.”
Naomi Pohl, General Secretary, Musician’s Union: “Data has been a problem in the music industry for as long as royalties have existed. Accurate data will mean more money in music maker pockets and less getting lost in the system or mis-allocated. This can only be a good thing and is extremely welcome. However, our members also need to be paid more; the metadata issue isn't the only issue and we are delighted that the Government and IPO have now instigated a working group to look at creator remuneration. We look forward to advancing the complete reset of music streaming that the DCMS Select Committee called for.
Cameron Craig, Executive Director, Music Producers Guild: “The MPG welcomes the signing of the Metadata code of practice. The first step is always small and yet the most significant, this one will start music makers down the path to more accurate metadata for the whole UK Music Industry, allowing for better, more accurate remuneration and career progression through tangible crediting. We'd also like to take the opportunity to thank the DCMS Select Committee, Government ministers and the Intellectual Property Office for their work in making this possible. We are pleased the IPO and Government are listening and look forward to continuing to shape the next stages, ensuring that quality and quantity targets are met.”
David Martin, CEO, Featured Artists Coalition: "The FAC would like to thank the Intellectual Property Office, the DCMS Select Committee and government ministers for bringing the UK music industry together in order to improve the streaming economy. The signing of the metadata code of practice marks a small, but significant step on the journey towards a complete reset of streaming. We look forward to contributing to the next stage of this work on metadata key performance indicators.
“We also welcome the news that a creator remuneration group is to be established. Remuneration is the FAC's main focus, as we seek a more equitable deal for the UK's artist community. We welcome confirmation from ministers that legislative interventions remain an option if the industry is unable to reach voluntary agreement."
Annabella Coldrick, CEO, Music Managers Forum: “Once again, the MMF would like to put on record our gratitude to the DCMS Select Committee, the IPO and Government ministers for their recognition that concrete reforms are required if the UK's music streaming market is to keep pace with other countries. As reiterated yesterday by the Minister of State, sustaining a thriving music industry that delivers continued growth in an increasingly competitive global music market and fair remuneration for existing and future creators should be complementary and reasonable goals. The establishment of a working group on remuneration and a new pan-industry agreement on metadata are clearly important steps - albeit early steps - in that direction. We now need all sides to get down to work and deliver some meaningful changes."
Silvia Montello, AIM’s CEO, commented: “AIM’s priority continues to be that artists are rightly rewarded for their creativity whilst ensuring that all those who invest in and nurture them have sustainable successful business models. We are also committed to ensuring that the growing DIY sector has its voice heard. The Metadata Agreement is a step in the right direction, creating workable industry-wide standards to help improve accurate payments and data flow in streaming. A win for the new remuneration group will be that all involved work positively together not to simply create new ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ but to understand the bigger picture and find fair outcomes which will benefit creators and rights holders across the industry. By working together rather than in individual silos we can make a more positive difference.”