UK industry body the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) publishes its latest yearbook later today. In an accompanying statement, CEO Kim Bayley addressed the ongoing debate around the music streaming economy and artists, saying that it is “right that we should review how the music streaming model functions”.
ERA represents streaming services as well as physical and digital retailers in the UK, which is important context for the views of its CEO on where problems lie in the streaming market.
“It is a matter of public record that that streaming has improved the profitability of record companies, but it has yet to generate the same magic for many of the digital services who actually created the streaming revolution,” wrote Bayley.
“The next challenge is not technological. It’s about fairness and sustainability. Music has never and will never be completely egalitarian. Some songs are better than others. Not all musicians will command a mass audience – even if streaming allows them to reach it.”
“It is not sufficient, however, simply to dismiss out of hand artist, songwriter and streaming service concerns. There is nothing God-given about the division of income between the recording and the song or how that money flows through the value chain. However comforting it may be to stick with the status quo, it is not beyond improvement.”
What improvements in particular? “There are still significant flaws in the data supplied to streaming services. We need to address them. We need more transparency so we can go beyond asserting streaming is fair to demonstrate it,” wrote Bayley. “And we need to move on from saying we are ‘open-minded’ about user centric licensing to actually doing the homework on what its impact would be.”