As the new streaming bill fails to make an impact in Parliament, The Anchoress says that she has made “not a penny” from 750,000 streams of her new album.
The singer (real name Catherine Anne Davies) released new album ‘The Art Of Losing’ earlier this year, which went on to be nominated for the Welsh Music Prize.
“If streaming numbers had been record sales, I would have got a gold record on my wall for ‘The Art Of Losing’,” Davies told the BBC. “But I’ve earned nothing, not a penny, because of the structure of my label deal. There was a small advance but it didn’t cover the cost of mixing.”
She added: “None are doing it to become millionaires, but it would be nice to pay the mortgage.”
The comments come as musicians and MPs are backing a new bill – dubbed the ‘Brennan Bill’ – which aims to provide legislative change to ensure musicians are paid properly for streams of their music.
The bill, officially titled the Copyright (Rights And Remuneration Of Musicians) Private Member’s Bill, was presented to parliament last week (December 3) by Kevin Brennan MP, and follows this summer’s ‘Economics Of Music Streaming’ report from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.
According to a statement, the bill’s main aim is to “ensure performers and composers are properly remunerated, by placing the treatment of revenue gained from music streaming services onto a common footing with the treatment of revenue gained from other sources”.
After being presented, the bill was not passed and is unlikely to be discussed further in Parliament.
One of its biggest supporters, the Musicians’ Union, said in response: “The Bill isn’t dead but now it goes to the back of the queue. Thanks to all those MPs who have spoken in favour of the Bill today, of course Kevin Brennan in particular, and to the Government for all the positive steps they are taking to investigate the problems with streaming.
The Bill isn't dead but now it goes to the back of the queue. Thanks to all those MPs who have spoken in favour of the Bill today, of course @KevinBrennanMP in particular, and to the Government for all the positive steps they are taking to investigate the problems with streaming.
— Musicians' Union (@WeAreTheMU) December 3, 2021
They added: “The #BrennanBill didn’t pass today but the campaign to #FixStreaming continues. The MU will keep making the case to Government, and working with @IvorsAcademy and @MrTomGray #BrokenRecord to keep the pressure up. Look out for more actions very soon! Together we can #FixStreaming.”
The #BrennanBill didn't pass today but the campaign to #FixStreaming continues. The MU will keep making the case to Government, and working with @IvorsAcademy and @MrTomGray #BrokenRecord to keep the pressure up. Look out for more actions very soon! Together we can #FixStreaming.
— Musicians' Union (@WeAreTheMU) December 3, 2021
Geoff Taylor, the CEO of the BPI and BRIT Awards, responded to the news, saying: “As many contributions to the debate in Parliament made clear, Mr Brennan’s Bill, though well-intentioned, is not the right way forward for British music.
“The UK’s record labels – including hundreds of independents around the country – are committed to supporting their artists’ creative vision and building their global audience, so that many more reap the benefits of streaming success. The Bill’s proposals would undermine the essential investment that labels provide, harming new talent and future artists and the long term competitiveness of British music.
“We have listened to the arguments made across the debate and will engage positively and proactively with the process government has put in place to look for joint solutions to ensure the streaming market continues to grow and sustain the careers of many more artists.”
During the presentation of the Brennan Bill, Business minister George Freeman told MPs that the government is keen to “avoid legislation”, despite acknowledging that there is a “problem” regarding the amount of money musicians receive for streams of their music.
“If we can avoid legislation but solve the problem in some other way, that’s our first instinct,” Freeman told MPs.
“But indeed, I want to make very clear if we conclude that legislative changes are the only way to achieve what the House is looking for, then that is very much open to us.”
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Commons Select Committee has been examining the business model for streaming since last year and whether or not the model is fair to songwriters and performers.
Over the summer, MPs stressed the need for a “complete reset” of the music industry to address the “pitiful returns” that artists receive. It came as part of a report from the Economics Of Music Streaming inquiry.
The inquiry saw the DCMS hear evidence from the likes of Radiohead, Elbow and Nadine Shah. Back in April, over 150 artists – including Paul McCartney and Kate Bush – signed an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking to help reform the streaming economy.
After the report was published, the UK government called in a number of music industry leaders to help consider streaming reforms in response to the DCMS Committee’s findings.