Music Publishing, internet
PRS for Music, which represents over 111,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers, has launched Streamfair. The campaign “aims to raise awareness about the critical need for legislative reform to ensure music creators are properly remunerated in the growing streaming music market.”
The PRS say the online music market now accounts for approximately 50% of overall sales globally with streaming services increasingly driving the change. In the past year, PRS for Music’s royalties from streaming services at £38.8m exceeded those of downloads for the first time at £26.7m – a trend repeated in 37 markets worldwide. Recent PRS for Music research also that shows that over 90% of UK consumers have accessed some kind of streaming service.
Some online content providers such as User Generated Content (UGC) services relying on what are known as ‘safe harbour’ provisions to avoid obtaining a licence or paying proper licence fees, are threatening the long-term sustainability and growth of the online music market. The lack of clarity about who is truly an ‘intermediary’ in the current European legislation has deprived creators of the ability to consent to the use of their works. This has resulted in a transfer of value from the creative industries to the technology platforms, to the detriment of consumers and the UK economy.
PRS for Music Chief Executive Robert Ashcroft commented: “It is unacceptable that some online content providers use ‘safe harbour’ provisions either to make token payments or avoid the need to pay a licence altogether by insisting that they are not liable for content even though their business models are predicated on monetising the creative works they carry. Furthermore, it’s not right that legitimate, fully licensed digital service providers have to endure the resulting unfair competition, which is stifling their growth and potential profitability. Unfair competition with free services is a problem that will not fix itself and requires intervention from the legislator… that’s why Streamfair is a timely and crucial campaign”.
PRS for Music’s Streamfair campaign focuses on four key areas:
- Copyright legislation: Clarity is needed on who can benefit from ‘safe harbour’ provisions. Originally introduced to support investment and innovation for digital providers, it is being used more widely by a number of digital content services to build multi-billion pound services.
- Online Licensing: Supporting and collaborating with dynamic, legitimate online businesses to ensure they get to market quickly, thrive and scale.
- Promoting the value of music creators: Successful, innovative and legitimate digital service providers are vital to the ongoing success of the UK and global music market. Together with music creators both contribute enormously to the cultural and commercial success of the UK’s overall economy. Those who make music must be recognised and rewarded for their work.
- Education: Music isn’t free. By tackling some of the questions about streaming, the campaign will help people understand that those making music should be recognised for their work.