God save the stream: Rebecca Ferguson joins Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock outside Parliament in support of new Bill ensuring ‘fair pay’ for artists on streaming platforms
- The Bill, published on Wednesday, is backed by the Musicians’ Union and The Ivors Academy for songwriters and composers
- It would introduce a right to equitable remuneration – where performers have a right to receive a share without reference to their label contracts
- The Bill’s central aim is to ‘ensure performers and composers are properly remunerated from music streaming services
Rebecca Ferguson lent her support to a protest in Parliament Square in London on Wednesday.
The former X-factor contestant, 35, wore a large black hat and a check trench coat as she joined crowds demanding support for a Bill that ensures artists are ‘fairly paid’ for streams of their music.
She was joined by Sex Pistols founding bassist Glen Matlock and 30 MPs outside Westminster as they highlighted the importance of the Bill, which will be presented in parliament on December 3.
Activism: Rebecca Ferguson cut a stylish as she lent her support to a protest in Parliament Square in London on Wednesday to ensure artists were ‘fairly paid’ for streams of their music through a new Bill that will be presented in parliament on December 3
The Bill, published on Wednesday, is backed by the Musicians’ Union and The Ivors Academy for songwriters and composers, and sponsored by Labour MP Kevin Brennan.
It would introduce a right to equitable remuneration for streaming income – where performers have a right to receive a share without reference to their label contracts.
The Bill’s central aim, according to its supporters, is to ‘ensure performers and composers are properly remunerated, by placing the treatment of revenue gained from music streaming services on to a common footing with the treatment of revenue gained from other sources’.
However, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the UK independent and major record labels association, said the Bill ‘completely misunderstands today’s music business’ and would bind the sector in ‘red tape’.
Crowds: She was joined by Sex Pistols founding bassist Glen Matlock and 30 MPs outside Westminster as they highlighted the importance of the Bill
Officially titled the Copyright (Rights And Remuneration Of Musicians) Private Member’s Bill, it comes amid increased awareness of streaming royalties due to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee inquiry in the economics of streaming.
The committee’s report previously warned that ‘pitiful returns’ from the current system are impacting the “entire creative ecosystem” and ministers subsequently referred the case of the market dominance of major record labels to the Competition and Markets Authority.
Mr Brennan, who is sponsoring the Bill, said: ‘More and more people are streaming music – heightened by the pandemic – yet, unlike for radio, there is no guaranteed royalty payment for all the musicians who have contributed to the recording being streamed.
‘To redress this, my Private Member’s Bill seeks to allow performers and composers to access means to ensure a fair sharing of revenues generated from their works.
‘In particular, the Bill will introduce a right to equitable remuneration for performers on musical works, where works that they have performed upon are made available to the public.
Idea: It would introduce a right to equitable remuneration for streaming income – where performers have a right to receive a share without reference to their label contracts
‘These reforms would lead to more new music, the revival of recording studios, a boost to the UK session music scene, the unearthing of a new generation of British talent, and Britain becoming once again a world-leading cultural hub for the recorded music industry.’
The deputy general secretary of the Musicians’ Union, Naomi Pohl, said: ‘The domination of the major music groups in the streaming market is clear. Musicians and songwriters are not getting a fair enough deal and legislative reform is overdue.
‘Now is the time to address the imbalances in the music industry and in music streaming in particular. We are calling on the Government to allow a free vote on the Brennan Bill on 3rd December.
‘Members across the House of Commons have already voiced their support for the Bill, showing the depth of bipartisan commitment to fixing streaming to ensure performers are fairly paid for their streamed music.’
Journey: Rebecca shot to fame after coming second on the 2010 series of X-Factor and has previously spoken out about the well-being of contestants on the show
Graham Davies, chief executive of The Ivors Academy, said: ‘On behalf of songwriters and composers our thanks go to Kevin Brennan and MPs from all parties who understand that Britain’s place as a cultural powerhouse rests on investing in people that actually make music.
‘The growth of the streaming market has diverted too much wealth to multinational record labels at the expense of music makers.
‘These market distortions must be fixed in order to grow Britain’s enviable music sector.”
However, a spokesman for the BPI said in a statement: ‘This Bill would bind British music in red tape, reduce income for the most entrepreneurial artists, stifle investment and innovation by record labels, and disproportionately harm the independent sector.
‘It would create huge uncertainty and deny many of the next generation of artists their shot to build a career. It completely misunderstands today’s music business, and the value that labels provide in finding and nurturing talent.
‘Labels are committed to ensuring artists are rewarded in line with their success from streaming, but just as British music is finally climbing out of its long downturn, this misguided, outdated regulation would be a damaging step backwards, eroding the foundations of the UK’s extraordinary global success in music.’
She told her fans online: ‘They need to be stopped! Exploitation at its absolute worst! modern-day slavery!’
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