What You Need To Know: In late 2020, the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee of the United Kingdom Parliament opened an investigation into music streaming economics. This came after a groundswell of support from organizations like the Musicians Union and the viral #BrokenRecord campaign.
In July 2021, the Committee issued its report, calling for sweeping changes to the music streaming industry. The recommendations to benefit artists included: 50/50 royalty splits, giving reclamation rights to musicians and songwriters, and government support for new and upcoming songwriters and composers. The report also called for referrals of major music companies to unfair competition authorities, the cancellation of artists’ historical debts by major labels, transparency across the industry like requiring royalty societies to share financial data, and a code of conduct for playlist curators which would eliminate mini forms of payola.
MAC’s Perspective: The Committee’s report is laudable, and we congratulate our friends and partners in the U.K. for getting these issues to the forefront of the public’s attention. The U.S. Congress should follow Parliament's lead and investigate the practices of the streaming industry. Recent efforts to examine and possibly curtail unfair competition and scrutinize large platforms are important first steps. MAC and like-minded organizations continue to push for comprehensive and sweeping reform in this industry, and the business, labor, and rights issues surrounding it.