Presenting the issues facing musicians and writers following the growth of streaming as the leading format for music-listening, MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge and The Ivors Academy CEO Graham Davies gave key testimonies to the Digital Culture Media and Sport Select Committee this afternoon.
The Committee quickly acknowledged how the live sector being closed for almost a year has presented an enormous problem for musicians. However, in keeping with the artists who had given evidence at earlier hearings, the organisations’ leaders emphasised how recorded music should also provide an acceptable and equitable income stream for musicians, writers and composers and that it was clearly failing to do so.
Highlighting how streaming should be classified as a communication to the public, Horace summarised the parlous position for performers, by stating, “You can’t make money out of a recording nowadays, unless you work for a record label.” Davies added, “Whatever money comes into the industry, if it doesn’t go into creators’ pockets, what is the point?”
Immediately following the hearing, Naomi Pohl, MU Deputy General Secretary, said:
“The key issue with streaming is that major labels are announcing record profits while our members can’t put food on the table or pay their bills. I am feeling very hopeful about the Committee’s findings from the inquiry. This could be historic. If we get a fairer deal for musicians as a result of this, it’ll be a huge win.”
Songwriter, producer and Chair of The Ivors Academy Crispin Hunt, said:
“Streaming is a song economy, with individual songs at the source of streaming’s success. Yet the value of the song is not respected and songwriters are currently at the bottom of the pile. Music writers are missing millions and millions in earnings as their work is degraded by the music industry, underpaid and exploited by YouTube, lost through poor data that fails to match the song to the songwriter and treated as a by-product when it is in fact the product. The music industry needs a huge reboot, a shake-up that puts creators at its heart.”