MPs to examine impact of streaming on the music industry

MPs are to examine the impact of streaming giants such as Spotify and Apple Music on the music industry.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee will look at how the streaming model has affected artists, record labels and the sustainability of the wider sector.

The first evidence session is expected to be held towards the end of November.

The inquiry comes after the Musicians’ Union and Ivors Academy launched the Keep Music Alive campaign, calling streaming royalties “woefully insufficient” and urging the Government to undertake a review.

The DCMS inquiry will look at the business models operated by platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Google Play.

MP portraits
DCMS committee chairman Julian Knight (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

The committee will also consider whether the Government should act to protect the industry from piracy in the wake of steps taken by the European Union on copyright and intellectual property rights.

Committee chairman Julian Knight said: “While streaming is a growing and important part of the music industry, contributing billions to global wealth, its success cannot come at the expense of talented and lesser-known artists.

“Algorithms might benefit platforms in maximising income from streaming but they are a blunt tool to operate in a creative industry, with emerging talent risking failing the first hurdle.

“We’re asking whether the business models used by major streaming platforms are fair to the writers and performers who provide the material.

“Longer term, we’re looking at whether the economics of streaming could in future limit the range of artists and music that we’re all able to enjoy today.”

The inquiry is seeking the perspectives of industry experts, artists and record labels as well as streaming platforms themselves.