UK music streaming services not making huge profits, watchdog says

The world’s biggest record labels and streaming services aren’t reaping exorbitant profits from the digital music revolution at the expense of artists struggling to make a living, A long-running investigation by the UK competition watchdog concluded.

Competition and Markets Authority That said, artists’ concerns about low returns are understandable, but intervening in the market is unlikely to help.

The CMA found that the streaming boom has benefited music fans, who have seen the cost of paid services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music fall by a fifth between 2009 and 2021, and songs for free through ad-supported packages can also access. ,

It also said that the world’s biggest music businesses – Universal Music, Warner Music and Sony Music, which control three-quarters of the UK music industry – and streamers were “not making significant additional profits that could be shared with creators”. could go “.

However, the CMA’s final report will disappoint many artists and songwriters in the music industry who have Struggled to make meaningful income from streamingClaiming that they do not get a fair share of the revenue from the deals, they were hoping that the watchdog would launch a full market probe into the study’s findings.

The CMA said there are 39 million monthly listeners in the UK for streaming services, who stream 138bn times a year. However, more than 60% of music streamed belongs to just 0.4% of artists, with superstars like Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Drake and Adele being the biggest winners of the digital music era.

The study found that the average royalty rate in major deals with artists increased from 19.7% to 23.3% between 2012 and 2021. Musicians achieve that level of listening.

CMA Interim Chief Executive, Sarah Cardell, “Streaming has transformed how music fans access vast catalogs of music, providing artists a valuable platform to reach new listeners quickly, and driving real value to consumers.” Has come.” Told.

Cardell said, “We heard from many artists and songwriters across the UK how they struggle to make a decent living from these services.” “These are understandable concerns, but our findings suggest that they are not the result of ineffective competition. CMA’s intervention will not release more money into the system that would help artists or songwriters.

CMA asked to start studying Following a scathing report by a cross-party committee of MPs last year, a “Complete reset” of the streaming model It is believed that only big labels and superstar acts benefit.

Music streaming dominates fans’ listening habits and Last year the UK industry accounted for 80% of the total £1.7bn income. Spending on subscriptions to services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music reached £1.3bn, compared to just £135.6m on vinyl albums and £150m on CDs.

“There were no real surprises in the CMA report,” said Tom Gray of the band Gomez, who is the founder of the campaign group Broken Records. “‘Not our problem’ would be a good description. They bring the producer’s earnings problem back to the government in the knowledge that it’s honestly a hot potato.

“Streaming payment rates have been falling in real terms for over a decade. Streaming is also taking the place of radio. Therefore, inevitably songwriters and performers would eventually lose the significant income they receive from broadcasting. This brings us back to the government needing to update the copyright structure and creator rights.

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