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GOVT. TO STUDY STREAMING ECONOMICS 

A group of MPs in the U.K. will examine the economic impact streaming is having on artists, record labels and the sustainability of the wider music industry. The first evidence session is expected to be held at the end of November.

The MPs form the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee. Their inquiry will look at the business models operated by streaming platforms and why artists can be paid as little as 13% of the income generated.

The committee will also consider whether the government should be taking action to protect the industry from piracy in the wake of steps taken by the EU on copyright and intellectual property rights.

“While streaming is a growing and important part of the music industry contributing billions to global wealth, its success cannot come at the expense of talented and lesser-known artists,” DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said. “Algorithms might benefit platforms in maximizing income from streaming but they are a blunt tool to operate in a creative industry with emerging talent risking failing the first hurdle. 

“We’re asking whether the business models used by major streaming platforms are fair to the writers and performers who provide the material. Longer-term we’re looking at whether the economics of streaming could in future limit the range of artists and music that we’re all able to enjoy today.”

The inquiry is seeking the perspectives of industry experts, artists and record labels as well as streaming platforms. They are asking for written submissions to be sent by 11/16, which will be used to inform debate and formulate answers to these questions:

  • What are the dominant business models of platforms that offer music streaming as a service?
  • Have new features associated with streaming platforms, such as algorithmic curation of music or company playlists, influenced consumer habits, tastes, etc.?
  • What has been the economic impact and long-term implications of streaming on the music industry, including for artists, record labels, record shops, etc.?
  • How can the Government protect the industry from knock-on effects, such as increased piracy of music? Does the U.K. need an equivalent of the Copyright Directive?
  • Do alternative business models exist? How can policy favor more equitable business models? 
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