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Nile Rodgers on streaming: ‘We must have transparency’


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Yesterday was the second day of hearings in the UK’s parliamentary inquiry into music streaming economics, and the star turn was Chic’s Nile Rodgers.

“We don’t even know what a stream is worth… there’s no way you can find out,” he told the committee of politicians. “We must have transparency… I look at the record labels as my partners. And the interesting thing is that every single time I’ve audited my partners, I find money. Every single time. And sometimes, it’s staggering, the amount of money.”

Like the speakers at the first hearing, Rodgers suggested that equitable remuneration – treating streams more like radio broadcasts, with royalties split 50/50 between artists and labels – might help. Other speakers yesterday included musicians Soweto Kinch and Fiona Bevan: read the BBC and the Guardian‘s reports for more on their testimonies.

Meanwhile, songwriters body The Ivors Academy has published its submission to the inquiry for anyone to read, in which it calls for regulation of major labels and publishers; a package of copyright reform; and a shakeup of collective rights management systems.

It’s important to note that the inquiry has not heard yet from any streaming services, labels or collecting societies. Nor has it heard from any artists who feel like they’re doing well from streaming. There is plenty of time yet for more hearings, but particularly on the equitable remuneration issue, the first sessions have set a strong tone – it will be interesting to see how labels and societies respond to that.

 

Image by Joe Mabel (CC BY-SA 3.0)


Written by: Stuart Dredge