Poll says accessing culture digitally is important but comes at a cost to artists

More than four fifths of people said accessing music, art, books, films, podcasts and TV through a digital device is important, research suggests – but it comes at a cost to the creative industry.

A YouGov poll for the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) found that 81% of people said accessing cultural content digitally is important in their daily lives – with 63% downloading content for free.

The “accessing and valuing cultural content” survey highlights how digital devices and technology are helping to reduce levels of cultural exclusion, but at a cost to artists, performers, writers and musicians who are not compensated fairly when their content is shared.

Caroline Dinenage
Caroline Dinenage called for more collaboration across industries (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The poll suggests that 72% support the creative industry being paid when their work is shared digitally, while 67% back the Government being open to new initiatives.

As the cultural landscape shifts to favour online consumption, just 5% of respondents believe every creator is paid for their work that is available to be streamed, shared or downloaded.

The figures come ahead of a new Government being formed and the autumn budget.

Caroline Dinenage, MP and former minister for digital and culture, said: “As the UK rebuilds post-pandemic and we seek to cement the UK’s reputation as a creative economy for all, it is time that we look at how to collaborate across industries to ensure everyone and every sector can thrive in the long term.

“It is important that government looks at workable and sustainable opportunities that Europe and the rest of the world have put in place that the UK could feasibly replicate to ensure our country remains at the forefront of the global creative economy.”

Gilane Tawadros, chief executive of DACS, said: “Most British artists earn less than the minimum wage, and many were locked out of the cultural recovery fund as freelance workers.

“As the UK seeks new ways of investing in and growing its economy post-covid and post-Brexit, it is time to ask how government and industry can collaborate, and how cultural creators can share in the success of our technology companies.”