Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien and Elbow frontman Guy Garvey were among several artists and industry analysts who testified at the opening of a UK Parliament inquiry about music streaming.
On Tuesday, an inquiry into the sustainability and economic impact of the music streaming business opened, according to Billboard.
“The system, as it is, is threatening the future of music,” Garvey explains while calling for higher royalty rates and more transparency in record contracts and accounting. Last year, Spotify paid labels and rights holders a blended per-stream rate of just $0.00366, Apple Music paid $0.0070, and YouTube paid $0.0033 for ad-supported videos.
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Due to the pandemic, the live music industry has halted, which makes the income artists make from streaming even more important than ever. COVID-19 “has provided an opportunity for us to really see what we’re making from recorded music [and] it’s pretty horrific,” Gomez’s Tom Gray says.
Garvey and Gray both advocated for a user-centric payment model, where artists are paid each time their music is streamed directly, as opposed to a pro-rata model based on market share.
“There have always been imbalances in the system, and they need to be addressed, but it’s more acute now,” O’Brien said. “It’s interesting to see your reaction to the testimony this morning because you’re becoming aware of the unfairness and the opaqueness within the business, and then you’re bolting on this digital model. And it’s not working.”