While music streaming services offer valuable means for music authors to reach more audiences, many music creators cannot make a living from streaming. ECSA proposes several measures to fix streaming and improve the situation for music authors. See the position paper for more.
On 15th July 2021, UK’s Parliament’s committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) published the report 'Economics of music streaming'. Following the inquiry that started in October, the DCMS Committee recommends an impressive number of reforms to fix streaming, not only to redress the balance for songwriters, performers and composers, but also to tackle fundamental problems within the music industry. Amongst other recommendations, the report suggests to:
- refer the major music companies to the Competition and Markets Authority to study the economic impact of the major music companies’ dominance;
- implement copyright reform similar to what is contained in the European Copyright Directive, articles 17-22 c) undertake a review of how music metadata is administered and require that Black Box unattributable royalties are distributed so that they support creative talent.
ECSA congratulates its British Member, the Ivors’ Academy and its partners for achieving such an outcome through the #BrokenRecord campaign.
On 19th October the UK Competition and Market Authority (CMA) announced that it will launch a market study on music streaming. This comes as a result of the inquiry of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee of the House of Commons and the campaign of ECSA’s UK member the Ivors’ Academy of Music.
ECSA welcomes this step which will look into the market dominance of the major music groups, which control the majority of the recording and publishing markets. The Alliance also encourages the EU and other countries to conduct similar studies and bring positive changes and meaningful revenues from music streaming to music creators.
Working Group on Music Streaming
The scope of the Music Streaming Working Group is to address all the most relevant issues for composers related to streaming. At ECSA, there have been plenty of discussions as well as a position paper about streaming in the past but the need to solve issues related to streaming and the composers’ world is still present. ECSA’s Music Streaming Working Group will elaborate on concrete solutions to improve the remuneration for music authors.
Members of the Working Group on Music Streaming
- Jörg Evers, Composer (Germany)
- Marek Hojda, Composer (Poland)
- Crispin Hunt, Songwriter (The United Kingdom)
- Arriën Molema, Songwriter and musician (The Netherlands)
- Darko Staničić, Composer (Croatia)
- Tobias Stenkjaer, Songwriter (Denmark)
- Aku Toivonen, Composer and singer (Finland)
- Natalia Vergara, Songwriter and singer (Spain)
The Working Group held its first meeting in April 2022 and put forward a few topics in which members believe there is a need for change, among which: the Streaming Market and the Value of Songs, the Digital Service Providers (DSPs), as well as the Cost of Streaming and Disparities between Steaming Services.
Sharing the Pie
The most urgent issue for composers is related to the royalties split coming for streaming. As of now, the publishing percentage coming from a stream is equal to 15% of every euro coming out. Usually, publishers and writers split performance and mechanical royalties 50/50 with both halves being called publisher’s share and writer’s share. More often than not, the writer even gets a portion of the publisher’s share. On the Master side however, the split is not so generous as record labels usually get more than 50% of the recorded music income, very often even more than 60%. Since both sides of the market are controlled by the same three companies, they put pressure on streaming platforms to favor the master side which brings more income to them. This is an international discussion as many industry experts argue that streaming cannot be dealt with as if it was a sale, a download or even a broadcast. The scope here is to find a suitable solution to redefine streaming royalties.
Growing the Pie
As “growing the pie” would be beneficial for every player and it might be easier to get people on board with this solution. Streaming subscriptions have always been at the same rate since the beginning which means that with time, currencies lose value with inflation, hence a stream costs less and less. Moreover, the cost of a stream is decreasing even more because of the fact that the pieces released on Spotify everyday exceed the number of new subscribers.
The metadata issues are at the core of every composer not getting paid what they are owed. In fact, ECSA has been supporting among with many other large players of the music industry such as BMG, PRS, Spotify, CIAM and more, a new pledge movement called Credits Due which is an initiative to bring the music industry together to ensure that complete and accurate song metadata is attached to all recordings at the point of creation. The Music Streaming Working Group will be closely working together with the Technology and AI Working Group on this issue.