MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by DC-Choppah »

CS70 wrote:
desmond wrote: That is the sense that I believe DC means they are "the same". From the point of view of the artist.


Yes. The point of view of the copyright holder. The copyright holder usually includes the artist.

5G technology is currently contemplating computer memory architectures with built in wireless connections. This allows memory on one device to read/write directly from another device remotely using proprietary interfaces. I suppose a new word will be coined for moving a song that way. It is not a stream, but a 'beam'.

So then we will be playing whack -a-mole and be back here arguing if a 'beam' is the same as a 'stream'.

From the rights holder's/artist's point of view it is all the same. The song/music is what is being protected. What we choose to value and protect, is the ability to allow the artist to control the right to copy his work so that he can make a livelihood. I respect that.

I hope the MPs have that point of view and don't get distracted by the technicalities of digital media.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by N i g e l »

Musicians from Radiohead, Gomez and Elbow tell MPs that the industry must reform and be made fairer

https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... guy-garvey
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by Martin Walker »

All good stuff, but I won't believe that anything will be done by the government until something is actually done ;)

However, this bit did give me a tiny bit of encouragement:

"After hearing the evidence, Julie Elliott MP said it sounded as if the three major labels – Warner Brothers, Sony and Universal – were operating “like a cartel” because of what Gray called “suspiciously similar” artist contracts."

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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by TheLegit »

I think the monthly cost for streaming should be doubled and that passed onto the musicians, still an incredibly cheap proposition to have access to all that music and if you don't like it buy downloads off I-Tunes, and if you don't like that lump it.

Like Noel Gallagher (I think) said people can fork out 3-4 quid for a coffee but you can't buy a song for 99p. I think there should be a push by Governments globally and media to outline the value of music and the lack of cash that goes to musicians under the current model. Once you have the public well informed and onside move to increase the monthly charge.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by Wonks »

TheLegit wrote:Like Noel Gallagher (I think) said people can fork out 3-4 quid for a coffee but you can't buy a song for 99p

I think you meant to write 'can buy a song for 99p'.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by MOF »

TheLegit wrote:
Like Noel Gallagher (I think) said people can fork out 3-4 quid for a coffee but you can't buy a song for 99p
I think you meant to write 'can buy a song for 99p'.

I think Noel’s statement was effectively a question, if literally written down it does seem strange, it needed a ‘?’ added on the end.
I watched Neil Brand’s TV theme tunes programme last week and he mentioned that the Coronation Street theme composer was paid £6 for the six episodes it was originally intended to accompany, even allowing for inflation it doesn’t seem like a very good rate. I can’t find out if he got paid for all the thousands of times it has been used subsequently.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by uselessoldman »

I am sure most of you are aware of the utube issues with regards to copyright and usage of "owned" music/monitorisation of uploads. The major music labels are the worlds largest abusers of cartel practices, they will do what ever it takes to milk ANYONE for what they can LEGALLY or not.

MY question would be "do you need a record label anymore in 2020"? You can record mix produce your own music, publish it on the various streaming media sources and take ALL THE MONEY/royalties for yourselves. I would argue that the major labels will only earn from their back catalogues going forward in the future cos it would take an idiot or a deal you could not refuse to sign up to any of them.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by CS70 »

uselessoldman wrote:MY question would be "do you need a record label anymore in 2020"?

It depends on the label and what it does. Production and distribution have become easy and cheap but to market a baby act is neither. You require connections and financial muscle to seed the initial phase.

So a label who's only pushing out productions without any further action is indeed a waste of time, but a label with the right connections, budget and will to push an artist is not.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by BigRedX »

Promotion is now more important than ever. When anyone with a recording and $50 can make their album available to everyone with an internet connected device, the most important thing is to make your offering stand out from the overall "noise".
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by uselessoldman »

Promotion does not require a record label, could be your manager your advertising agency your sister/brother father friend. Obviously I am talking about "normal times" not when the world is in the grip of some pandemic which is killing most industries not just music.

There will always be room for a promotional agent, information is valuable as much as time can be expensive, it has a cost. With the number of people taking marketing and media degrees nowadays the world should be full of talented/educated people looking for work/new acts opportunities.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by BigRedX »

uselessoldman wrote:Promotion does not require a record label, could be your manager your advertising agency your sister/brother father friend. Obviously I am talking about "normal times" not when the world is in the grip of some pandemic which is killing most industries not just music.

There will always be room for a promotional agent, information is valuable as much as time can be expensive, it has a cost. With the number of people taking marketing and media degrees nowadays the world should be full of talented/educated people looking for work/new acts opportunities.

But from personal experience effective promotion requires a substantial amount of money lots of time and some very specialised knowledge in order to target it appropriately for the artist in question. This is something that good record labels in abundance.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Yep, it doesn't require a label, but it is what they're very good at and (should be) set up to do.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by CS70 »

uselessoldman wrote:Promotion does not require a record label

No, but it requires dedicated, continuous work over a rather longish period of time, and to be effective, which require substantial funding unless one doesn't live of air. For that work to have a chance to pay off, you need a good deal of expertise in what works and what not and how to reach and work the proper channels; and usually a significant network of connections makes things much easier. They don't invite you at an interview with Jimmy Kimmel right when your new album is coming out just because you ask.

Of all these factors, the connection aspect is perhaps the most important. Your stuff's gotta be good, but there's lots of good stuff in the world that never gets heard because it's not presented by the right people to the right people.

All that is usually a (good) "label". I don't see many of these around however..

Another common way for an artist to be launched is via an existing successful performing artist that takes him/her as a "protégé", lending him/her his or her network... again, the protege's gotta be good and be making good (and sellable) stuff, but if the right guy or gal says "it's worth checking out", the marketing budget suddenly gets much smaller.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by RichardT »

Fascinating article from the Guardian on this.....

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/ ... ary-report
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Some very interesting stuff in there and I, for one, am glad to see that the argument has largely moved on from 'streaming = bad', which has so heavily stifled the debate.
Two things do spring to mind though:
1) as long as this debate is happening in the UK not the US (or even Sweden) it's kind of irrelevant.
2) I know this is a series of opinions, but I wish that newspapers would fact-check this stuff and annotate it accordingly.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by Martin Walker »

blinddrew wrote:Some very interesting stuff in there and I, for one, am glad to see that the argument has largely moved on from 'streaming = bad', which has so heavily stifled the debate.

Agreed - I thought exactly the same thing, and there were various sensible suggestions there that merit further thought.

Mostly at the expense of record companies though, who are no longer manufacturing, but more restricted to marketing, and should therefore take a smaller proportion of future record/streaming deals.

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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by N i g e l »

Copyright (Rights and Remuneration of Musicians, etc.) Bill

this was up for debate yesterday and will carry on on 10th Dec

the long version (probably available as audio on The BBC somewhere)..

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2 ... nsEtc)Bill
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Really don't know where to start with that. :headbang:
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by N i g e l »

If you skim a couple of sections thats probably enough to get the gist of the proceedings, dad jokes, pros and cons, and the complexities.

My immedite take away was that I didnt realise that P.W. is ex- Runrig & Big Country.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by Drew Stephenson »

I'm looking again actually, I fear I may have been pre-emptive in my initial analysis.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by Drew Stephenson »

General thoughts:
Why don't they have a copy of the bill* on the page relating to the discussion? :thumbdown:
There's a copy here by the way: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/b ... 210019.pdf

Mike Wood trying to compare singles sales to streams as if they're remotely the same. :roll:
Pete Wishart being out by a factor of 100 on the payment rates for iTunes and Apple music. :!:
Whole thing is still predicated on a misunderstanding of the fundamental purpose of copyright. The purpose is to encourage the creation of new material, the mechanism is a government-granted, time-limited monopoly.
Major labels still unwilling to examine alternatives (unsurprising).
Dean Russell on a meaningless nostalgia trip.
Angela Richardson admitting breaking copyright law (as we all did) by recording songs off the radio.
Dean Russell talking about not wanting to do a disservice to up and coming musicians but making no mention of one of the easiest ways they could help musicians in this country: accept the EU's proposal to allow touring bands/orchestras. :headbang:
Graham Stuart points out that just because the industry says it'll be terrible doesn't mean that it actually will. :thumbup:
Dean Russell finally getting to the point about the breadth and depth of people involved in the music industry.
Julie Elliott still pushing the idea that musicians 'deserve' to be able to make a living. Then sounding shocked about how opaque the music labels are with their money routing.
Julie Elliott the first to actually get to one of the actual changes in the bill, the 20-year notice period.
Andy Carter asks if that would block the use of that track and what happens with any royalties to other musicians? I would say he hasn't read the bill but see the asterisk at the bottom.
Esther McVey (of all people) actually on point about the reduction in piracy brought about by widespread streaming.
Also gets into some serious stuff about the consolidation of the business into three major labels, three publishers and the lack of independence and competition.
Also good point about the differing speed of payments. This is looking scarily like a minister who might actually understand their brief. :o
Good points on the difference between licence and sale and the effect of the lack of transparency in the process.
McVey then continues that the conservatives don't believe in monopolies and oversized organisations - oh the irony! Then disappears down a weird tangent about only investing in already successful acts.
Graham Stuart interrupts to correct that part.
Seema Malhotra goes on about the global impact of british music but again no mention of the difficulties in touring Europe now. Seems to be the first to recognise that musicians have been ripped off for decades now and this isn't just related to streaming or the pandemic.
Lots of talk about how music is a global business but no recognition of how that might impact payment rates.
Andy Carter talking about how 'equitable remuneration' as it is defined isn't going to be the panacea that the bill drafters think it will.
I'm stopping now because no-one is reading this, but I'm really not sure this is going to add anything to the table. Spotify is based in Sweden, Amazon, Apple, Tidal, Youtube etc are all based in the US. That's where the discussion needs to happen.

* Does anyone else find this practically unreadable? I'm pretty au-fait with corporate gobbledygook but this is nuts. A few years ago the government did a really good job on making sure that all .gov websites were well written in plain English; we should do the same with the law and government bills. The supporting notes are much better: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/b ... 0019en.pdf The bills should be written like this.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by James Perrett »

Drew, your points about touring are valid but nothing to do with the subject matter of this bill.

There is a big gap in this thread where we missed the publication of the culture select committee's report into this subject back in October. The bill is an attempt to implement some of the recommendations but, like most private member's bills, probably won't become law. I understand that there may be moves afoot to introduce a government sponsored bill which will stand more chance of success but may well water down the recommendations.

There's a story here...

https://completemusicupdate.com/article ... arliament/

Which seems to sum things up fairly well.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by RichardT »

I’ve read a few bills and they tend to be like that. I think it’s because they are like the computer code of the law, intended to be clear and explicit to the legal experts who use them at the cost of being clear to non-experts. The accompanying notes are like the comments in the code, explaining what is going on in plain language.

I don’t think ‘plain English’ bills would work as they would be ambiguous.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by Drew Stephenson »

James Perrett wrote: Sat Dec 04, 2021 10:13 pm Drew, your points about touring are valid but nothing to do with the subject matter of this bill.

True, but they would have been relevant to the debate as touring and live revenue were mentioned on several occasions.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by Drew Stephenson »

RichardT wrote: Sat Dec 04, 2021 10:40 pm I’ve read a few bills and they tend to be like that. I think it’s because they are like the computer code of the law, intended to be clear and explicit to the legal experts who use them at the cost of being clear to non-experts. The accompanying notes are like the comments in the code, explaining what is going on in plain language.

I don’t think ‘plain English’ bills would work as they would be ambiguous.

The thing is that we are all subject to these bills. We should be able to understand the laws we are subject to.
I also disagree on the plain language point. Yes, there are specific legal terms that might be difficult to translate unambiguously, but I don't think the bulk of the texts couldn't be re-written in a much more understandable way.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by Drew Stephenson »

James Perrett wrote: Sat Dec 04, 2021 10:13 pm There is a big gap in this thread where we missed the publication of the culture select committee's report into this subject back in October. The bill is an attempt to implement some of the recommendations but, like most private member's bills, probably won't become law. I understand that there may be moves afoot to introduce a government sponsored bill which will stand more chance of success but may well water down the recommendations.

There's a story here...

https://completemusicupdate.com/article ... arliament/

Which seems to sum things up fairly well.

Sounds like the first debate was much like the second. Again there's a certain humour in Whittingdale saying changing signed contracts isn't the conservative way of working - he may want to let Lord Frost know... ;)
Thanks for the link. :thumbup:
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by merlyn »

I saw the select committee on BBC Parliament at the time. Tom Gray was a witness and had a simple and sane solution -- a User-Centric Payment System.

That means if a person paid their £5 subscription and only listened to e.g. my music I would get the fiver. If they listened to half my music, and half Taylor Swift, Taylor would get £2.50, and I would get £2.50.

Simple and fair, no?

The record labels don't like that, and they negotiate deals, meaning the record companies decide how user's subscriptions are divided up.

Tom Gray is active with the #BrokenRecord campaign, and his written evidence to Parliament is here :

https://committees.parliament.uk/writte ... 10156/pdf/
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by RichardT »

I like that idea, Merlyn. Actually there are two ideas there…

The first is that all artists should be treated the same, irrespective of label (if they have one) and distributor. That’s a great idea.

The second is giving different amounts to the artist per play depending on how much music a subscriber listens to in total, and how much they listen to a given artist in particular. I can see the good sides of that, but it’s also a little untransparent and unpredictable.
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Re: MPs to investigate whether artists are paid fairly for streaming music

Post by Drew Stephenson »

SoundCloud are experimenting with this approach at the moment. I think they call it proportional distribution or similar. Their assumption, based on their data, is that it will result in more payments to smaller artists. It will interesting to see how that works in practice.
It certainly feels like a better option than the equitable remuneration approach being proposed.

Personally I think we'd be better off by ripping up the whole copyright framework and starting again for the digital era, going right back to the basic principles of what it's for in the first place.
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Re: MPs to investigate why artists aren't paid fairly for streaming music

Post by merlyn »

RichardT wrote: Sun Dec 05, 2021 1:22 pm The second is giving different amounts to the artist per play depending on how much music a subscriber listens to in total, and how much they listen to a given artist in particular. I can see the good sides of that, but it’s also a little untransparent and unpredictable.

It's not completely transparent at the moment. The £0.0004 per stream is transparent in that it is out in the open and everyone knows that's what one stream gets. But the money from the £0.0004 is the smaller part. A Spotify subscription is £10. Let's say Spotify take half. To spend £5 at £0.0004 per pop would take 12,500 streams, or over 400 streams per day.

1,000 streams per month, or over 30 per day would be a lot for one Spotify user and that comes to 40p. So the bulk of the money is distributed in other ways that aren't made public -- e.g. deals between Universal Music and Spotify.
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