Support from MPs, musicians and artists grows for the ‘Brennan Bill’, which aims to Fix Streaming24 November 2021 - Press release
Cross-party MPs, artists and musicians are backing a Parliamentary Bill, published today, which presents legislative solutions to ensure performers are fairly paid for their streamed music.
The reforms included in Kevin Brennan MP’s Copyright (Rights And Remuneration Of Musicians) Private Member’s Bill follow-up on the key recommendations made by the cross-party group of MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee during their in-depth inquiry into the ‘Economics of music streaming.’
Support for the Bill is growing and bridges party divides, with MPs on all sides of Parliament expressing their approval. The Bill is due to be presented to Parliament on Friday 3 December. Ahead of this, on Wednesday 24 November, MPs will be joining the Musicians’ Union and The Ivors Academy on Parliament Square - after Prime Minister’s Questions - to raise awareness for the Bill and the importance of reforming the current streaming system. “Whispering Bob” Harris, Rebecca Ferguson and Glen Matlock are expected to be in attendance, and it is understood that the musicians will be performing “Heroes” by David Bowie to MPs as they sign the bill to make this historic change to music streaming legislation, which all the major record labels are trying to stop.
The Bill’s central aim is to “ensure performers and composers are properly remunerated, by placing the treatment of revenue gained from music streaming services onto a common footing with the treatment of revenue gained from other sources.” The Bill mirrors the calls from the Musicians’ Union, The Ivors Academy and the #BrokenRecord campaign to ensure that music makers in the UK receive a fairer share of streaming revenues.
Clear solutions exist to reform music streaming in the UK and bring copyright law up to date. Equitable remuneration for performers is already in effect, or currently being implemented, in territories across Europe, while British creators continue to struggle financially. In the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic, over 20,000 musicians and music creators applied to music industry hardship funds and this sparked the #FixStreaming and #BrokenRecord campaigns, which call for recorded music to play its part in supporting careers.
The inequity of the current streaming system was highlighted most clearly by recent news reports showing that Sir Lucian Grainge, CEO and Chair of Universal Music Group, earned more in 2021 (over £150m) than the total combined royalties generated by UK streaming, sales and downloads for songwriters, composers and lyricists in 2019.
In a recent joint letter to the Prime Minister, over 40 Conservative MPs called on the Government to fix streaming and ensure musicians get a fair share of revenue from their streamed music. The letter highlighted the ways in which reforms to copyright laws could create a fairer system for musicians and contribute to the Government’s wider levelling-up agenda, while also supporting performers who have faced an incredibly difficult 18 months during the pandemic.
Kevin Brennan MP, who is sponsoring the Copyright (Rights And Remuneration Of Musicians etc) 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.
“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.”
Naomi Pohl, Deputy General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union, 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 bi-partisan commitment to fixing streaming to ensure performers are fairly paid for their streamed music.”
Graham Davies, CEO 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.”