UK Government Committee Recommends 50% Streaming Payments to Music Creators
Music streaming royalties in the United States are comically small. The tech companies originally purported to democratize music distribution, but in reality they have entrenched themselves in a financial ecosystem that pays the artists even less than the traditional record label model of the 1960s ever did through an oligarchy that wields outsized bargaining power.
Back in 2018, the US Congress passed the Music Modernization Act which looked promising from the standpoint of increasing artist streaming income, but little substantive progress has been made for the music creators since then. The streaming revenue earned by music creators in the US is not appreciably better than it was before 2018.
In the United Kingdom, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons has recently issued a report entitled the Economics of Music Streaming. In this Report, the Committee adopts a shockingly pro-creator stance. You can read the entire 122 page report report by clicking here.
The huge takeaway from this report is that the Committee recommends that the UK government enact legislation that would impose a 50/50 split on streaming revenues between streaming platform and artist (See Report at p.47). In this respect, the UK government is light years ahead of the United States government position, which is simply mired in bureaucracy.
To put this in proper perspective, currently Spotify pays artists between $0.003 and $0.005 per stream, which means most artists do not earn enough revenue from streaming payments to even earn a living. Contrast that with Spotify’s $2.4 Billion gross earnings in Q3 2021 alone, and it becomes pretty tough to justify the notion that music creators are being treated equitably.
It remains to be seen what legislative action (if any) the UK Government will take on this matter. The Committee’s position should be noted by policy makers in the United States.