MPs to examine the economic impact of streaming on the music industry

MPs are set to examine the economic impact that music streaming is having on artists, record labels and the wider music industry.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee are looking into the issue, with the first evidence session for the ‘Economics of music streaming’ inquiry expected to be held at the end of November.

The Committee will look at “the business models” operated by such streaming giants as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Google Play. Over £1 billion in revenue was generated from 114 billion music streams in the UK last year, with the inquiry noting, however, that “artists can be paid as little as 13% of the income generated”.


“The Committee will also consider whether the government should be taking action to protect the industry from piracy in the wake of steps taken by the EU on copyright and intellectual property rights,” a UK Parliament statement adds.

Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer
Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer apps (Picture: Chesnot/Getty Images)

As well as gathering the perspectives of industry experts, artists, record labels and the streaming platforms themselves, the committee is also inviting written submissions which address the following questions:

These written submissions must be submitted before 6pm on November 16.

“While streaming is a growing and important part of the music industry contributing billions to global wealth, its success cannot come at the expense of talented and lesser-known artists,” DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said.

“Algorithms might benefit platforms in maximising income from streaming but they are a blunt tool to operate in a creative industry with emerging talent risking failing the first hurdle.


“We’re asking whether the business models used by major streaming platforms are fair to the writers and performers who provide the material. Longer-term we’re looking at whether the economics of streaming could in future limit the range of artists and music that we’re all able to enjoy today.”

Earlier this week, a YouGov poll of music fans found that 77% of respondents believe that artists deserve a greater share of revenue from streaming services.