UK Parliamentary Probe Results In Calls for “Complete Reset” of the Streaming Industry

A Parliamentary probe into the current market dynamics of music streaming has yielded a bold call for a "complete reset" of the market by British MP's.

The topic of fair pay for artists has been a contentious one throughout the rise of the streaming era, but the results of this particular inquiry—published by Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) wing—have led to a rare inflection point where new protectionist regulations might be on the horizon.

The subject of this inquiry considered the economic relationship between artists and their record labels, and unsurprisingly, the results showed that labels are reaping a disproportionate amount of the financial benefits. 

"While streaming has brought significant profits to the recorded music industry, the talent behind it—performers, songwriters and composers—are losing out," MP Julian Knight said. "Only a complete reset of streaming that enshrines in law their rights to a fair share of the earnings will do.”

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According to MusicTech, UK major labels are the overwhelming market determiners as Warner, Universal, and Sony together have 75% of the nation's market share.

As far as potential solutions are concerned, the report raises a couple intriguing ideas. It recommends the implementation of equal 50/50 royalty share splits between artist and label. Similar to the existing equitable renumeration system used for radio and television broadcast royalties, an independent collections organization would pay out the artists directly based on the royalty terms. Finally, it suggests a system whereby artists may have the right to "recapture" the full rights to their music after a period of 20 years. 

While this recognition represents a small win for UK artists, there is a long road ahead before meaningful change can potentially occur. It is now up to the UK government to respond to the findings of this inquiry in order to determine whether they will seek to take action.