Music Makers call on Music Community to Unite on Streaming Reforms

22 March 2023

The Council of Music Makers – representing UK songwriters, composers, artists, musicians, producers and music managers – urge record labels, music publishers and streaming platforms to join us and deliver five foundational changes to build a more sustainable future

With major music corporations and global streaming platforms increasingly in alignment that the infrastructure of music streaming must be rebalanced in the interests of artists and creators, the UK’s Council of Music Makers (CMM) has today provided an update on the five foundational changes required to deliver the future to which we now all aspire.

Ahead of a meeting with Government Ministers this week, we are calling on record labels, music publishers and digital platforms to work with the CMM and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to deliver these changes which we believe are fundamental to building a new “artist-and-creator-centric” future.

1. All featured artists should receive a modern, minimum digital royalty rate, with unrecouped balances written off after a term, on a rolling basis, without any additional conditions.

2. All session musicians should see the benefit of the streaming boom, on both new recordings and catalogue.

3. All music-makers should have an opportunity to revise outdated old contract terms, making old deals fit for purpose in the modern music business. Remuneration should always be fair and appropriate.

4. All songwriters and artists must be given transparency on how their music is monetised by each digital platform. That includes proactively communicating how monies are allocated to each music-maker’s songs and recordings, and then shared with and paid through to them.

5. The whole industry should ensure that all required music rights data is in the system before release. Every music-maker should always be credited for their contribution and digital royalties must reach songwriters as quickly and accurately as they do for artists.

The CMM brings together the organisations that represent those who compose, record, perform and produce the music we all love – the Ivors Academy, FAC, MMF, MPG and the MU.

Following the landmark DCMS Select Committee report from July 2021, that called for a “complete reset” of streaming, our organisations are directly involved in long-running working groups at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) that seek to deliver pan-industry solutions to alleviate current market dysfunctions.

Over recent months, it is increasingly evident that major rights owners and digital platforms also share our concerns.

In January, Universal Music Group chairman & CEO Sir Lucian Grainge, outlined his belief in an internal memo that the “economic model for streaming needs to evolve” and “under the current model, the critical contributions of too many artists, as well as the engagement of too many fans, are undervalued… We need a model that supports all artists – DIY, indie and major. An innovative, ‘artist-centric’ model that values all subscribers and rewards the music they love.”

UMG has since announced separate partnerships with TIDAL and Deezer to test new “artist-friendly” streaming models, effectively ending those platforms’ work in developing “user-centric” royalty distribution systems.

In February, Spotify founder Daniel Ek outlined his vision of a “truly global creative economy” at the market leader’s annual Stream On event. Spotify’s mission, he stated, was to “unlock the potential of human creativity, by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art.”

We as the CMM share these exciting visions of the future, where digital innovation benefits the widest range of creative talent. We also agree with Sophie Jones, the BPI’s chief strategy officer and interim CEO, that the music community must unite and create the impetus for further growth to futureproof the success of British music in an increasingly competitive global music market.

The IPO-convened working groups provide the perfect forum to achieve this vision of an artist-and-creator-centric streaming business, allowing a united music industry to work together to put in place the five key foundational changes outlined by the CMM today.

Thanks to nearly two years of hard work by the IPO and representatives from across the industry some progress has already been made, especially around data and transparency. The CMM hopes that that work will soon result in new industry codes which will start this process of transformation. Meanwhile, some independent music businesses are already going further.

However, there remains much, much more to be done to ensure meaningful change across the entire industry: the journey has only just begun. The CMM is ready and willing to build on the work to date to deliver all five of the foundational changes, creating a truly artist-and-creator-centric streaming business and transforming the livelihoods of all music makers.

In a collective statement, the CMM said:

“As the Council of Music Makers we stand united in our desire to build a system where streaming offers more equitable rewards to all those who compose, perform and produce music. While it is heartening to see major music companies share our conclusion that change is necessary, it is disappointing that we have seen few meaningful commitments on the five fundamental areas already put on the table at the Intellectual Property Office. Ahead of our meeting with Ministers on 23rd June we urge our label and publishing partners to join us in taking the necessary actions so we can all unite and create the impetus for future growth.”

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