MPs to investigate whether the business models of famous streaming platforms are fair to the artists, performers, and the music industry. Culture Committee chair Julian Knight said the government is opening an inquiry to examine if the economy of streaming companies such as Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music, and Amazon Music is limiting the range of talent in the music industry.
It is important to consider the terms of fairness towards performers, artists, and writers who create content and contribute to the streaming platforms. In a #BrokenRecord campaign launched by musician Tom Gray, the artists called for an investigation on steaming business models and payment to the artist.
The campaign commissioned a survey that revealed that about 70% of artists are underpaid by the streaming companies. The UK music industry contributes £1 billion revenue per year through streaming. Apple Music pays about £0.0059 per stream, whereas Spotify pays between £0.002 and £0.0038 per stream.
A majority of the survey respondents said that they won’t pay more for the streaming subscription, which costs around £10 per month. However, half the majority is willing to pay more if it benefits their favourite songwriters and artists. Based on the pro-rata model, several prominent streaming services, including Spotify, pay money to the artists.
Deezer, a French streaming service, is one of the leading streaming platforms that will use a user centric payment system (UCPS). The revenue generated from subscriptions directly benefits the artists they listen to. Alexander Holler, chief content and strategy officer told Music Ally that it is important to reach a consensus between label partners to introduce the UCPS model.
Spotify launched a new feature “tip jar” in April that allows fans and listeners to send money to their favourite artists through the platform. This resulted in criticism from platform service users and culminated into the perception that artists are not getting paid enough.
The article amendment was held on October 15, 2020 and it provides clarity regarding the initiative. It is an MP led initiative by the Commons digital, culture, media and sports committee that has no reference to the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport.
The first evidence session of the committee investigation is slated to be held at the end of November this year. The written submissions are invited by the MPs to address the business models of streaming platforms. The industry experts, labels, artists, and streaming services are required to produce the documents to study the economic impact of such models on consumers and artists.
The piration of digital media services, including gaming, music, and films has surged since the lockdown implementations. The government is focused on protecting the industry with this investigation. The Committee seeks to introduce alternative business models that are more favourable to the artists.
The formulation of policies that benefit such models is required. The Committee looks for a potential model that is a UK equivalent of the EU copyright directive, which holds the platform such as YouTube responsible for uploading user protected content.