Artists Fear Retribution If They Speak Out Against Streaming Royalties, Lawmakers Say

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Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee Chair Julian Knight. Photo Credit: David Woolfall

British lawmakers have stated that artists are hesitant to participate in the ongoing investigation into streaming royalties “because they fear action may be taken against them” if they do so.

The House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS Committee) announced the high-profile probe of streaming royalties last month. The comprehensive analysis aims to identify streaming’s impact on all relevant stakeholders, including labels and artists, as well as its long-term effects concerning “the sustainability of the wider music industry.”

Last week, singer-songwriter Nadine Shah, Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien, and Elbow frontman Guy Garvey spoke before the DCMS Committee to address the contemporary music landscape. Of particular note was Shah’s statement that she doesn’t “make enough money from streaming” to cover her rent, despite having north of 100,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.

Possibly in response to the abundance of information that the investigation has turned up thus far, the DCMS Committee also announced last week that it had extended the window for artists and others to submit written testimonials regarding royalties. From the original deadline of Monday, November 16th, members of the music industry now have until Friday, December 11th, to express their opinions.

The probe’s upcoming oral testimony, for its part, is slated to take place next Tuesday, December 8th, with Maria Forte Music Services’ namesake owner, Ferocious Talent owner Kwame Kwaten, and José Luis Sevillano, director general at Spain’s AIE, set to participate via livestream.

Ahead of the formal sitdown, DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight has relayed that many would-be witnesses are opting not to come forward due to their fear of the potential professional consequences associated with speaking out against streaming royalties.

“We have been told from many different sources that some of the people interested in speaking to us, in relation to this inquiry, have become reluctant to do so because they fear action may be taken against them if they speak in public,” said the Solihull MP, who became the DCMS Committee’s chair in January of this year.

“I would like to say on behalf of the Committee that we would take a very dim view indeed if we had any evidence of anyone interfering with witnesses to one of our inquiries. … This Committee will brook no such interference and will not hesitate to name and shame anyone proven to be involved in such activity,” continued Knight.

And in concluding his statement on the matter, the lawmaker emphasized that others who reach out to the DCMS Committee with information or insight pertaining to streaming royalties “will be treated in confidence.”

More as this develops.

6 Responses

  1. Roberto

    A BIG THANKS to Lars from Metallica who had the balls to stand up for Artists’ rights and suggest that free (stolen) music was unfair to the hard working musicians, many of whom spend years Recording great music for the fans to enjoy. Then remember what happened to him? All the nasty insults from fans who soon became accustomed to not paying for music any longer. And now what? Let’s see how good the music has become in this new free music era. How about PTS? Oh, how about we try FREE WINES for a year or two and see how good the wines taste then!

    • Ehh

      You can always go back to label that just put its arm up your bums and kept everything.

  2. Ruell Bankasingh

    A lot of this is common sense. they need artist to say it’s unfair, look at the circumstance. we can’t get sales as easy as before, we are mostly funneled to steaming platforms, because all the audience is their now, and it’s out music. the Pros already took this fight on and they certainly crunched the numbers and probably provided an amazing factual response to the problem and the corrupt politicians still knowning the facts ruled against the artist and allowed unfair pay, they are ruling to protect big corporations that are doing a lot of wrong. this is a simple matter. you can analyze the circumstance, you don’t need people to say it’s not right, you know it’s not. you know we should receive better rates and you know what is the right and fair action in this circumstance. if it was a issue about politicians pay rate, you would see how quickly they all want to make the right decision to protect themselves, yet they don’t want to do what’s right for anyone else. Just another reason all humanity is doomed. If they can’t do what’s right get rid of them. if a company refuses to do what’s right, replace it with one that will. i’m sure the pros can start streaming platforms that would benefit all artist and the people would support it. fair pay, equal exposure, and the good list of benefits going on and on. it’s cheap to set up one of these platforms. it’s a database. the actual cost to make and run one is not a lot of money. fair pay, split the profits and shares between all artist. after the pros and maintaining the database fees is covered. simple. they already got a structure with employees. we’re not asking to stop your profits, were asking to be paid fairly, which we should never had have to ask for to begin with, it should have been automatic that we receive fair treatment.

  3. Dean Hajas

    Is full Copyright services that’s outspoken and an advocate for creators of music. Look at the tweets of Jeff Price from Nov 30th 2020. He addresses a comment regarding Dean Hajas as I speak the truth of the music industry world wide. I’ve advised Africa when CISAC was coming in to teach how to tip off their own creators just last year. If anyone is interested, officials were caught stealing money from the Performing Rights Organizations in the same year after I stated what would happen. The musicians have lost their rebellion in trying to make it to the major labels. Let me be perfectly clear, the industry relies on the 98% of musicians who don’t understand how to protect their creations. Each of the PRO agencies have all taken advantage of the creators, so much so… Jeff Price from Tunecore – Distrokid and Audiam is tweeting about the illicit behaviours at @Socan, who have been taken to New York Supreme Court over “Failure To Pay” for the purchase of Audiam for $16 million. I advised regarding the wholly owned subsidiary known as Mint Digital Licensing Services contrary to SOCAN statement of it not being owned by SOCAN. Go to 2016 pg 32 regarding MINT commencing Feb 12, 2013.

    It’s my honour to fight for creators abs getting them protected to get them paid.

  4. Tom Hendricks

    1% of musicians make 90% of all streaming money.
    That’s the only industry with that much of the wealth in so few hands.
    99% of musicians are beginning to stand up against this and the Big three labels that control it.