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Paul McCartney Joins UK Musicians Seeking Updated Law On Streaming Royalties

Paul McCartney Joins UK Musicians Seeking Updated Law On Streaming Royalties

A coalition of 156 British musicians including Paul McCartney, Roger Daltrey and Sting have called on U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to update the nation’s 1988 Copyright Act to reflect royalty payments for streamed music.

What Happened: Radio stations in the U.K. purchase a license from a rights collection company that uses its revenue to distribute royalties to songwriters and performers based on the frequency that their songs are broadcast, according to a report in The Guardian.

When music is heard via streaming services, the revenue from users is pooled by the streaming company and distributed to the rights holder, which is often a record label that deducts its share based on the contract it has with the artist.

Royalty rates are determined by each company, rather than an industry standard.

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

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What Else Happened: In their letter, the musicians called for a regulator to oversee the distribution of streaming royalties in order to “ensure the lawful and fair treatment of music makers.”

The letter also complained the law has not kept up with the times, noting that streaming has outpaced radio as the primary platform for listening to music but has deviated from the traditional relationship between media outlets and the artists whose work fills their airwaves.

“Listeners would be horrified to learn how little artists and musicians earn from streaming when they pay their subscriptions,” the letter said.

The letter was coordinated by the artist-advocate #BrokenRecord campaign in conjunction with the Musicians’ Union and the Ivors’ Academy’s #FixStreaming campaign.

Other signatories included Joan Armatrading, Kate Bush, Brian Eno, Marianne Faithfull, Peter Gabriel, Bob Geldof, Annie Lennox, Chris Martin, Stevie Nicks and the three surviving members of Led Zeppelin: Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones.

Last week, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) acknowledged it only paid music-rights holders a penny per stream. That's almost double the amount paid by Spotify Technology S.A. (NYSE: SPOT), which pays an average of about one-third to one-half of a penny per stream.

(Photo of Paul McCartney by Jimmy Baikovicius/Flickr Creative Commons.)


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Posted-In: Boris Johnson music streaming Paul McCartney royalties streaming services the GuardianNews Media Best of Benzinga

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