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The Rolling Stones, Pet Shop Boys, Emeli Sandé, Barry Gibb, Van Morrison, Sir Tom Jones and the Estates of John Lennon and Joe Strummer have written to the Prime Minister "on behalf of today's generation of artists, musicians and songwriters here in the UK". 

All the modern British recording artists named by Boris Johnson in his Desert Island Discs are now represented on the letter. 

In an unprecedented show of solidarity, they have added their names to a joint letter with artists such as Annie Lennox, Paloma Faith, Kano, Joan Armatrading, Chris Martin, Gary Barlow, Paul McCartney, Melanie C, Jimmy Page, Boy George, Noel Gallagher and Kate Bush, calling on the PM to update UK law to "put the value of music back where it belongs – in the hands of music makers."

This renewed call comes on the back of a report last week by The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) which said this is a "systemic problem [that] cries out for a systemic solution" and concluded that streaming should start to pay more like radio: "The more global revenues surge, the harder it is for performers to understand why the imbalance is fair—because it is not...streaming remuneration likely should be considered for a communication to the public right."

More and more people are streaming music – heightened by the pandemic – but, as the artists point out, "the law has not kept up with the pace of technological change and, as a result, performers and songwriters do not enjoy the same protections as they do in radio," with most featured artists receiving tiny fractions of a US cent per stream" and session musicians receiving nothing at all.  

 

The letter suggests that "only two words need to change in the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act...so that today's performers receive a share of revenues, just like they enjoy in radio" – a change which "won't cost the taxpayer a penny but will put more money in the pockets of UK taxpayers and raise revenues for public services like the NHS" and which will contribute to the "levelling-up agenda as we kickstart the post-Covid economic recovery."

The 234 signatories do not want streaming to be recognised as radio. Instead, they want streaming to share some of radio's remuneration model so that they are paid more fairly. Legislation, despite recognising that streaming is replacing sales, is yet to recognise that the technology is on its way to replacing radio too.  

The letter is backed by the Musicians' Union, the Ivors Academy and the Music Producer's Guild collectively representing tens of thousands of UK performers, composers and songwriters and producers, brought together in partnership with the #BrokenRecord campaign led by artist and songwriter, Tom Gray.

The Commons DCMS Committee has been examining this issue with its Economics of music streaming inquiry, expected to report by the end of this month, but it is understood that this issue falls between the remits of both the DCMS and BEIS departments, which is why the artists have chosen to address it to the Prime Minister.  

The letter also recommends "an immediate government referral to the Competition and Markets Authority" because of "evidence of multinational corporations wielding extraordinary power" over the marketplace and the creation of an industry regulator. 

They write that these changes "will make the UK the best place in the world to be a musician or a songwriter, allow recording studios and the UK session scene to thrive once again, strengthen our world leading cultural sector, allow the market for recorded music to flourish for listeners and creators, and unearth a new generation of talent."

 

Tom Gray, Founder of the #BrokenRecord Campaign, said:

"It is amazing and timely that the World Intellectual Property Organisation, who create the global treaties that underpin UK law, are now reporting that we are right. This is the moment for the UK to lead the way. British music makers are suffering needlessly. There is an extraordinary amount of money in music streaming. It is a success story for a few foreign multinationals, but rarely for the British citizens who make the music"

"This letter is fundamentally about preserving a professional class of music-maker into the future. Most musicians don't expect to be rich and famous or even be particularly comfortable, they just want to earn a crust."

 

Horace Trubridge, General Secretary of the Musicians' Union, said:

"I'm delighted to see so many artists, performers and songwriters backing our call.  Streaming is replacing radio so musicians should get the same protection when their work is played on streaming platforms as they get when it's played on radio.

"As the whole world has moved online during the pandemic, musicians who write, record and perform for a living have been let down by a law that simply hasn't kept up with the pace of technological change.  Listeners would be horrified to learn how little artists and musicians earn from streaming when they pay their subscriptions.

"By tightening up the law so that streaming pays more like radio, we will put streaming income back where it belongs - in the hands of artists.  It's their music so the income generated from it should go into their hands."

 

Graham Davies, Chief Executive of the Ivors Academy, said:

"Paying music creators properly, which is what so many incredible artists have spoken up to ask for on behalf of present and future musicians and songwriters, will drive the streaming industry and sustain the UK creative economy. Music should and could be a major national asset, but its potential value is currently stripped by overseas interests.

We need to keep the value of British music in our nation by supporting, nurturing and investing in our creators, whilst ensuring the handful of foreign multinational corporations which dominate the music industry and have little interest in preserving British cultural heritage, contribute more value back into the UK. These easy steps will achieve exactly that."

 

Crispin Hunt, Chair of the Ivors Academy, said:

"Major Music labels delude themselves that they are the sole providers of the music economy. They are not; the musicians, producers and composers who signed this letter are the true providers of the music economy; without them, no employment in music could exist.

"Britains Music Creators should be the primary beneficiaries of the value their creativity drives.  The record companies are now glorified marketing firms, without manufacturing and distribution costs. Their extraordinary profits ought to be shared more equitably with creators. In streaming the song is king, yet songwriters are streaming's serfs.


"British Music Creators want nothing more than a reasonable partnership with the companies that market and distribute our work. But a reasonable partnership should be based on shared rewards and responsibilities, not unilateral takings.

"With this letter, Britain's greatest Music Creators say Music must reform, Government can and should help us fix it."

23 May 2022 | Press release

Music Venue Trust announces launch of music venue properties

Groundbreaking New Initiative Will Help Grassroots Music Venues Secure Long-Term Futures Nine UK Venues Identified for First Phase of New Scheme #OwnOurVenues   Music Venue Trust (MVT), the UK charity which represents hundreds of grassroots music venues, has announced an ambitious new initiative, #ownourvenues, that will help...more

23 May 2022 | Press release

peermusic U.K. has signed 3X Ivor Novello award-winning songwriter/producer, Brian Higgins to an exclusive global music publishing deal

 peermusic U.K. has signed 3X Ivor Novello award-winning songwriter/producer, Brian Higgins to an exclusive global music publishing deal, as announced today by Nigel Elderton, President, Europe & Managing Director, peermusic U.K. and Mike Sault, Head of A&R, peermusic U.K. The deal encompasses future works.   The...more

20 May 2022 | Press release

Sony Music Entertainment Launches RCA Records Greater China

Sony Music Entertainment (SME) announced today the launch of RCA Records Greater China. The new label will focus on signing artists in the Greater China region, expanding the company’s presence across the region and investing in artists looking to broaden...more

20 May 2022 | Press release

Warner Music Asia sign Mongolia hip-hop star Mrs M

Warner Music Asia’s regional label Asiatic Records has made its first move into Mongolia by signing Mrs M, a pioneer of the country’s lively hip-hop and RnB scene.Mrs M is one of the country’s most popular performing rappers and a...more

20 May 2022 | Press release

Julia Hummel appointed VP, Digital Strategy & Business Development at Warner Music Canada

  Warner Music Canada has appointed Julia Hummel to the new role of Vice President, Digital Strategy & Business Development.  She’ll help the label’s artists leverage the opportunities opening up in the web3 universe, as well as working to continue to...more

20 May 2022 | Press release

Driift sell over 85,000 tickets for Little Mix’s global livestream from the O2

  Final show on the band’s sell-out Confetti Tour experienced in realtime by fans in 143 countries  The livestream attracts an estimated audience of more than 200,000 - approximately ten times The O2’s capacity The event is also simulcast to cinemas worldwide, accounting...more

20 May 2022 | Press release

Coca-Cola launches global music platform ‘Coke Studio’ with vibrant new film

Platform Connects Emerging Musical Talent from Around the World Debuts with Global Film that Pays Homage to Queen’s Iconic ‘A Kind of Magic’ Track   Coca-Cola is expanding Coke Studio™, a music platform that builds on the program originally launched in Pakistan in...more

20 May 2022 | Press release

Supercharging Serendipity: Xposure helps artists skip the line to vetted music pros' ears

  Artists want guidance, to get outside insight into making music, but lack access to good guides and clear direction. They have to rely on luck, connections, or intense hustle to get it. Music execs, managers, and other professionals want to...more

20 May 2022 | Press release

Winners of The Ivors 2022 announced

At a ceremony in London today, the winners of this year's Ivor Novello Awards have been announced. Dave was crowned Songwriter of the Year. Having dropped the surprise Top 10 single Titanium in 2021, Dave's second album We're All Alone In This Together then hit number one in...more

20 May 2022 | Press release

UTA Music delivers their biggest Great Escape showcase to date, with CASISDEAD, Willow Kane, Bob Vylan, Scalping and more

Continuing their forward-thinking strategy to elevate the world’s most exciting new talent and shine a spotlight on some of the most important emerging scenes and cultures, UTA returned to Europe’s leading showcase festival The Great Escape in Brighton last week...more

19 May 2022 | Press release

Reservoir announces publishing deal with Roxy Music's lead guitarist, Phil Manzanera

Reservoir Media, Inc. (NASDAQ: RSVR) (“Reservoir” or the “Company”), an award-winning independent music company, today announced a worldwide publishing deal with Roxy Music’s lead guitarist, musician and songwriter-producer, Phil Manzanera. The deal includes works from Manzanera’s catalog, which features songs...more

19 May 2022 | Press release

Bauer Media Audio UK secures record 21M reach in new RAJAR results

Bauer Media Audio UK is today celebrating its best ever reach, securing an impressive audience of 21M across its stations. The results of today's Q1 2022 RAJAR release demonstrate the ongoing strength of radio, with more people than ever choosing it...more

19 May 2022 | Press release

YMU launch US entertainment division

SPEARHEADED BY VETERAN AGENT APRIL TOMBS, JOINED BY UTA'S SPENCER GOLDSTEIN AND ICM’S JARED GREENWALD Leading transatlantic talent management company, YMU, launches its US Entertainment division under the leadership of highly coveted and respected agent, April Tombs. The company - which holds...more

19 May 2022 | Press release

Global - Rajar Q1 2022 headlines

  The UK’s biggest commercial radio company Global celebrates its best-ever audience results, scoring its highest ever reach, hours and share. Global leads the commercial radio market in all measures, with a record-breaking 25.8m weekly listeners, 242m hours and 24% share.   Global also has the top three...more

19 May 2022 | Press release

Reactional Music Partners with Tuned Global for Real-time Music Personalisation in Gaming

- Reactional Music chooses Tuned Global as its music backend provider- Tuned Global music APIs and content delivery solutions provide Reactional Music with advanced tools to manage its music catalogue- Tuned Global’s Platform ensures game developers and gamers can search,...more

19 May 2022 | Press release

BMG announces new Marc Bolan and T. Rex music documentary

ANGELHEADED HIPSTER: THE SONGS OF MARC BOLAN & T. REX TO PREMIERE AT TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL IN JUNE U2, Elton John, David Bowie, Ringo Starr, Nick Cave, Joan Jett, and acclaimed filmmaker Cameron Crowe are among a star-studded cast set to pay...more

19 May 2022 | Press release

Ivor Novello, Oscar and Grammy Award winning talents announce further education programme TheWRD to kickstart young creative careers in music

Pre-degree diploma in Creative Entrepreneurship launched by The Ivors Academy Oscar and Grammy winning Producer Paul Epworth and last year’s Ivor Novello Songwriter of the Year Jamie Hartman announce the launch Online and in person course brings together music industry leaders, expert...more

19 May 2022 | Press release

Amazon Music and Alfie Templeman launch a virtual festival in Minecraft to celebrate the launch of Mellow Moon

Featuring performances from Alfie Templeman, Everything Everything, Coach Party, Matilda Mann, The Vaccines and more ‘Mellow Moon’ festival performances live on Minecraft from Thursday 19th May   Amazon Music and Alfie Templeman have collaborated to create the world of ‘Mellow Moon’ inside the...more

19 May 2022 | Press release

Golden Globe Winner Lisa Gerrard signs new album with Atlantic Curve

LISA GERRARD - Golden Globe Winner for ‘Gladiator’ & legendary singer for Dead Can Dance - unites efforts with long-time collaborator and award-winning composer MARCELLO DE FRANCISCI to bring you ‘EXAUDIA’. This latest Atlantic Curve album is scheduled for release...more

19 May 2022 | Press release

New research confirms the Middle East and North Africa as thriving music region

IFPI, representing the recording industry worldwide, has today announced that music streaming charts are in development for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), including IFPI’s first ever regional chart. The charts, which are expected to launch soon, will be...more

19 May 2022 | Press release

Alex Ho, Ben Lunn and Laura Reid among seven talented composers to receive PRS Foundation’s Composers’ Fund

PRS Foundation, the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development, together with Jerwood Arts, the leading independent funder for early-career UK artists, curators and producers, announce today (Thursday 19th May 2022) the latest talented composers to receive the...more

19 May 2022 | Press release

Voicy lands €1.2 million pre-Seed from Global Founders Capital to build the GIPHY for sound

  Leading tech figures from companies including Twitch, Spotify, Deezer and Snapchat back social platform that already has 1.1 million active users, integration with Viber and 35 million monthly plays   Voicy, an online content platform for discovering, creating and sharing sound-clips and...more

19 May 2022 | Press release

Endel Collaborates with Sony to Bring Audio Wellness to Sony’s LinkBuds series

  Now Endel soundscapes can help you relax, focus, and sleep in just a few taps, thanks to integration with Sony’s LinkBuds and LinkBuds S.  LinkBuds series now offer a seamless way to access Endel and its wellness soundscapes, thanks to a...more

18 May 2022 | Press release

IMPALA launches its new Changemaker Award to promote equity, diversity and inclusion in the independent music sector with Power Up as first recipient

IMPALA is launching a new award scheme, known as the Changemaker Award. Part of IMPALA’s diversity and inclusion work, the award aims to put the spotlight on projects that promote change in the independent sector and inspire others to take action....more

18 May 2022 | Press release

London Music Fund announces Ayanna Witter-Johnson as Ambassador & Trustee

  The London Music Fund is delighted to welcome multi-instrumentalist Ayanna Witter Johnson as an Ambassador and Trustee. The acclaimed singer, songwriter, pianist and cellist will join Nicola Benedetti CBE, YolanDa Brown, Jess Gillam, MBE, Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, and Simon Cowell among others as an Ambassador of the award winning music...more

18 May 2022 | Press release

BDi Music signs Ellysse Mason to exclusive deal

Emerging artist and songwriter has 200,000 monthly Spotify listeners, 4m total streams     Independent publisher BDi Music has signed emerging artist and songwriter Ellysse Mason to an exclusive worldwide publishing deal. Signed to LAB Records, Mason has accumulated 430,000 followers across her social...more

18 May 2022 | Press release

Imelda May Joins Headliners For Towersey Festival - The UK's Longest Running Festival

Towersey Festival, the UK’s longest-running independent festival, organised by generations of the same family, will  take place this year in the stunning new location of Claydon Estate, Buckinghamshire over August Bank Holiday weekend. It’s come a long way since the...more

18 May 2022 | Press release

Bauer Media Group Appoints Richard Dawkins as President of Audio

  Bauer Media Group has appointed Richard Dawkins as President of Audio.  In this role, Richard will lead and continue to grow Bauer Media Group’s Audio business to take advantage of the opportunities ahead. With operations in eight countries across Europe, the group...more

18 May 2022 | Press release

4AD Announces New US & UK Label Managers + Additional Promotions

4AD are delighted to announce a change to the label’s management team that sees Alyssa DeBonis and Sophie Hall become the company’s new US and UK Label Managers respectively.  Based in the label’s New York office, US Label Manager Alyssa DeBonis will oversee the label’s US team and...more

17 May 2022 | Press release

Jamal Edwards MBE to be honoured with Music Industry Trusts Award

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the music industry Edwards’ family to accept award during ceremony on Monday 7th November     Jamal Edwards MBE (24 August 1990 – 20 February 2022) is to be honoured with this year’s prestigious Music Industry Trusts Award (MITS),...more

23 May 2022

  • Harry Styles' new album tracks claim all top 13 spots on Spotify global daily chart (see News)

  • Is the middle class musician disappearing? (see Comment)

20 May 2022

  • Ivor Novello Awards - winners announced (see News)

19 May 2022

  • The unheard battle over social media licensing (see Comment)

  • Sam Ryder on how he ditched his ego and found his joy (see Features)

18 May 2022

  • How do today’s musicians make money? (see Features)

  • LimeWire strikes licensing deal with Universal (see Digital)

17 May 2022

  • Jamal Edwards MBE to be honoured with Music Industry Trusts Award (see News)

16 May 2022

  • UK success at Eurovision 2022 (see Features, Showbiz, Live)

  • What does the #CryptoCrash mean for web3 and music? (see Comment)

  • Managers report delay in visas for performers wanting to enter UK (see News)

13 May 2022

  • BMG and Warner Music bidding to buy Pink Floyd’s catalogue (see Deals)

  • MMF: "What is currently an opaque black box of song royalties, needs to be transformed into a glass box" (see Opinion)

12 May 2022

  • MMF publishes Song Royalties Manifesto (see News)

  • Girl bands made British pop great – so where have all the good ones gone? (see Features)

11 May 2022

  • More on myth that 60,000 songs are uploaded to Spotify daily (see Analysis)

10 May 2022

  • Travel limits on international music tours to be eased (see News)