FAC and MMF set out their hopes for streaming reforms


As you’ll know from our news story yesterday on a competition snag for Sony Music’s acquisition of AWAL, the UK’s recent music streaming economics inquiry is already having some knock-on effects. This morning, the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and Music Managers Forum (MMF) have set out their hopes for what else might happen next, based on the inquiry’s report.

You can read their ‘Economics of Music Streaming’ white paper here, as well as an explanatory blog post by FAC boss David Martin here. He makes it clear why the two bodies are setting our their stall now.

“If the Committee’s landmark report represented a watershed, then the Government’s response to its contents, expected before the end of this month, is even more vital,” wrote Martin. “This should provide us with far greater clarity about the direction of travel, and whether some of the much-needed legislative changes raised by the Committee are likely to be implemented by the Government.”

There’s also an important reminder of the nuances within the artist community around some of the issues covered by the inquiry. “A featured artist locked into an unrecouped life-of-copyright deal from the analogue era will undoubtedly hold strong viewpoints as to how streaming should be ‘fixed’; whereas one who owns their own copyrights or releases via a label services-type deal might feel there is much about streaming that should be left well alone,” suggested Martin.

The report itself sets out what the two bodies want the government to do, but also what they want the music industry to do itself – so a combination of voluntary reforms and legislative action. They cover contracts and artist royalties (including ‘black box’ royalties); and licensing of streaming services, including transparency around advances.

Oh, and the FAC and MMF are also backing the inquiry’s recommendation that the government “refer a case to the Competition & Markets Authority to undertake a full market study into the economic impact of the major record companies’ dominance in the music rights market” too. That decision over a competition referral is going to be the next big moment in this story, and if Martin is right, it could come this month.

Written by: Stuart Dredge