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News April 21, 2021

Paul McCartney, Kate Bush and 150 others petition U.K.’s Prime Minister to ‘fix streaming’

Senior Journalist, B2B
Paul McCartney, Kate Bush and 150 others petition U.K.’s Prime Minister to ‘fix streaming’

The floodgates have opened on the streaming-model debate in the U.K., where many of the biggest names in music are now lobbying government for change.

The likes of Paul McCartney, Kate Bush, Noel Gallagher, Damon Albarn, Annie Lennox, Robert Plant, David Gilmour and many others have signed an open letter urging prime minister Boris Johnson to fix streaming.

For too long, the letter starts, streaming platforms, record labels and “other internet giants” have “exploited performers and creators without rewarding them fairly. We must put the value of music back where it belongs – in the hands of music makers.”

More than 150 creators signed the document, which calls for action at a legislative level.

Only “two words” would need to be changed in the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act to facilitate a better outcome for artists, musicians and songwriters, the statement adds.

“This will modernise the law so that today’s performers receive a share of revenues, just like they enjoy in radio. It won’t cost the taxpayer a penny but will put more money in the pockets of U.K. taxpayers and raise revenues for public services like the NHS.”

Also, the letter continues, a regulator will be needed going forward, to “ensure the lawful and fair treatment” of music makers.

The campaign launched Tuesday (20th April) and is supported by the Musician’s Union and Ivors Academy, which collectively represent tens of thousands of U.K. performers, composers and songwriters.

Soon after the letter went live, the Featured Artists Coalition offered its solidarity. “This is a wake-up call for record labels, publishers and industry leaders to put their heads together and find fair solutions to a growing problem,” reads a statement from the FAC board.

Calls for a fairer streaming model have reached fever pitch in recent months. In March, the United Musicians and Allied Workers Union orchestrated a series of global protests under the banner, “Justice at Spotify.”

The Union and other artist advocates are calling for a royalty hike to a penny-per-stream (the current rate is USD$0.0038 per stream), transparent contracts, a user-centric payment model, and to stop fighting artists in the courts.

That petition amassed almost 28,000 signatures, including those of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Deerhoof, Jay Som and Frankie Cosmos.

Perhaps realising the writing is on the wall, SoundCloud and Apple Music separately announced their own payment models are considerably more artist-friendly, while distancing their businesses from Spotify and others.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.


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