Rolling Stones, Tom Jones and more join campaign for law change on streaming

Dozens of major music stars have joined a campaign for UK law to change regarding the royalties paid from streaming.

The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, Pet Shop Boys, Yoko Ono, Van Morrison, Barry Gibb, Emeli Sandé and Jarvis Cocker are among the new signatories of a letter to Boris Johnson pleading for better remuneration for artists and songwriters.

The campaign, headed by the Musicians’ Union, Music Producers Guild, Ivors Academy and the #BrokenRecord initiative, began in April with signatories including Paul McCartney, Kate Bush and members of Led Zeppelin.

It argues that streaming via services such as Spotify and Apple Music be legislated more like radio. “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,” the letter states. “Today’s musicians receive very little income from their performances – most featured artists receive tiny fractions of a US cent per stream and session musicians receive nothing at all.”

As is stands, streaming royalty rates are set by individual companies, and paid to artists either directly or via their record label. The campaign wants to see a change made to the 1988 Copyright Act, so that royalties are paid via a performing rights organisation, just as they are for radio plays. The campaign is also calling for a regulator for the streaming sector.

Other musicians newly backing the campaign include Simon Le Bon, Brett Anderson, Chrissie Hynde, Supergrass and Two Door Cinema Club.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation, an agency of the UN, boosted the campaign by arguing this month that “streaming remuneration likely should be considered consideration for a communication to the public right,” as radio is.

UK parliament has been examining the issues around artist remuneration as part of its inquiry into the economics of music streaming, which concluded in March and is expected to produce a report of its findings this summer.

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