Tomorrow, I am in Parliament to support the Copyright (Rights and Remuneration of Musicians, etc) Bill.
The live music scene, as well as live theatre and the arts, is such an important part of life in Sunderland.
We are blessed in the city with such wonderful cultural institutions, like the Sunderland Empire and the new Fire Station Auditorium, which is due to open later this month. These are amazing places that give young artists and musicians opportunities at the start of their careers.
Live arts is something we have all greatly missed, not least the artists themselves who have lost so much during the pandemic.
For musicians, the lockdown brought one thing to light – the importance of streaming to an artists’ income, and how the relationship has changed between artists and the way their music is enjoyed.
So I am backing the #FixStreaming campaign, and I am backing the Copyright bill brought before the House tomorrow.
As a member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, this is something that we have heard evidence about extensively.
We heard from up-and-coming artists, from established musicians, and those who work behind the scenes to make the rich cultural scene we have in this country possible – and this led to the conclusion in our report in July that called for a ‘complete reset’ of music streaming,
We called for legislation to ensure a fairer deal for artists and creators from streaming income and we called for the case to be referred to the Competition and Markets Authority, which has now happened.
For a while, the streaming platforms were the only source of income they had, when we were all locked in unable to go to shows – but it is simply not enough, and that is why I am supporting the Copyright (Rights and Remuneration of Musicians Etc.) Bill.
Streaming simply has not replaced the income that was provided to artists by radio plays, and artists simply cannot rely on the revenue it brings in.
This is not least down to the small amount of money that the artists get for the song being played, but for the percentage of that money that they actually get.
Songwriters, composers and their publishers only receive around 15 percent of the total streaming royalties, yet around 55 percent is received by record labels.
That is why this bill is so important, and this is why I am backing it.
This is a change that the Government can get behind now, to support our creatives today, before it is too late. The UK’s biggest pride is its creative industry. If we are unable to support artists, we risk the possibility of losing many wonderful, and culturally British creatives.
By changing the law now and backing this, the Government will be putting money back into the pockets of musicians, songwriters and composers.
It’s what our cultural sector needs.