Emerging acts facing “massive competition” from classic artists on streaming

The DCMS committee inquiry into the economics of music streaming continued today

Emerging artists are facing “massive competition” from classic acts on streaming services, MPs have been told.

Representatives from the three major record labels – Universal, Sony Music and Warner Music Group – provided evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee inquiry into the economics of music streaming today (January 19).

It comes after musicians such as Radiohead’s Ed O’BrienElbow’s Guy Garvey and Nadine Shah warned MPs that unfair streaming payments were “threatening the future of music” during the first hearing in November.

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Peter Leathem, the CEO of music copyright collective PPL, said that musicians at the start of their careers have “got the last 50 years of the music industry to compete with” on digital platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music.

“Ultimately, you’ve got some of the most talented people in our society [who] are struggling to make a living,” he continued (via the BBC).

Spotify
Spotify. CREDIT: Getty Images

Leathem explained that “everyone is fighting” for a share of a “smaller pie” due to increasing competition for consumers’ attention across the major streaming sites.

Earlier this month it was revealed that career-spanning greatest hits collections from Queen, Elton John and Fleetwood Mac were three of the UK’s top-selling albums of last year.

KSI‘s debut full-length ‘Dissimulation’ was the only British album to surpass 60,000 copies, which is the number of sales required to be awarded a silver disc (it was the 62nd best-selling album of 2020 overall).

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The London rapper, who is also a YouTuber, cited his established fanbase on the video platform as the reason for his album’s success.

“I have an advantage because I have a platform, a large platform, and I’m able to promote myself way easier than a lot of other artists,” he explained to BBC 5 Live.

Over the weekend, Kate Nash became the latest musician to speak out against the inequalities in streaming payments amid the ongoing inquiry.

Beginning a thread on Twitter, in which she called on acts to “speak up”, Nash wrote: “If you’re an artist that can afford to live in a city like me then we have got to unite in some way to stand up for the working class musicians who can’t afford to keep going even though they have millions of streams on Spotify.

“It is unethical. Music is not a club for the rich.”

Writing for The Guardian last month, Nadine Shah said she had been unable to pay her rent once the coronavirus pandemic cut her touring income.

“The situation was such that I temporarily had to move back in with my parents over the summer,” Shah wrote. “Not the worst thing to happen, but still not a great look for a thirtysomething pop star.”

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