UK government backs music group CMA referral

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UK government ministers have referred the case for a market study on the economic impact of dominance by the major music groups to the Competition and Markets Authority, a key recommendation of the DCMS Committee’s Report, Economics of Music Streaming, acknowledging it as a “key moment for the music industry”.

The Government Response generated by the Committee’s inquiry provided ministers with invaluable insights into the streaming environment. The report called for a “complete reset” of the recorded music industry.

In response to the Committee’s recommendation for equitable remuneration for performers on streaming income, the Government has committed to publishing within days research on creators’ earnings in the digital age. It will corroborate evidence given to the Committee that contractual arrangements between performers, labels and platforms appear to disadvantage some players in the streaming environment.

On copyright, the Government agreed that rightsholders should be properly remunerated for works used and shared online by user-generated content platforms such as YouTube and recognised difficulties rightsholders faced given the complexity of licensing negotiations. The Response notes that Government will consider what lessons can be learnt from EU member states on the Copyright Directive to improve the position of rightsholders entering into licensing negotiations with user-generated content platforms.

“Our inquiry into music streaming exposed fundamental problems within the structure of the music industry itself,” noted Julian Knight MP Chair of the DCMS Committee. “It is testimony to all those who gave evidence to our inquiry that the Government has acknowledged our report as a ‘key moment’ for the music industry.”

“Crucially, Ministers have accepted a key recommendation to refer the dominance of the major music groups to the Competition and Markets Authority.  Our report laid bare the unassailable position these companies have achieved. We provided evidence of deep concern that their dominance was distorting the market.”

“Within days, we expect to see the Government’s own research published into the pitiful earning of creators in this digital age and hope it will corroborate what artists and musicians told us. We will be monitoring the outcome and what tangible steps the Government pledges to take to redress this unfairness and reward the talent behind the music,” he confirmed.


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