On the 6th July, Nigel Adams MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music, held a Westminster Hall debate considering artists’ remuneration for online streaming of their music. The debate brought together Conservative, Labour, SNP and DUP members who discussed the importance of the creative industry and what the government can do to ensure artists receive fair pay for their work.
This issue is of greatest concern to up-and-coming artists as well as behind-the-scenes creators such as songwriters, lyricists and producers, who do not have as much access other sources of revenue and rely on royalties to make a living. The debate emphasised the importance of supporting these artists in order for the UK music industry to grow and develop.
The next day, 7th July, Nigel Adams was able to speak on behalf of the music industry again in the full House of Commons’ debate on support for the UK’s creative industries and their contribution to the economy.
Praising the success of the UK music industry nationally and globally, and the history of support from BBC Radio for rising musicians, Mr. Adams confronted the issues artists face when their online popularity is not reflected in their financial rewards – such as one songwriter he met whose 3.2 million hits on YouTube resulted in just £5.39.
Many in the industry agree this is an issue of growing concern including songwriter Rupert Hine, who wrote to Nigel saying, “Put the world’s most ubiquitous search engine together with the world’s most ubiquitous noticeboard and you have created the one place on Planet Earth where you can view all the world’s Art and Culture for absolutely nothing. Great for the ‘Users’—but unsustainable for the ‘Creators’.”
During his Westminster Hall debate Mr Adams said:
“It is not difficult to understand the despair of a writer or artist who sees their life’s work online with little hope of any financial reward now or in the future. This is particularly a problem for less high-profile producers, writers and creative people, who are less likely to have additional income streams from endorsements or touring.”
Mr. Adams also expressed concern for those musicians wishing to break into the US music market but facing crippling difficulties with an expensive and overly complex visa process. He called for the Foreign Office and the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport to find ways to support UK musicians as they attempt to obtain visas to tour internationally.
Afterwards Mr Adams said “It’s been a pleasure to be able to be so active in advocating for our creative industry, and most importantly our creators, this week. The debate was a great success and I’d like to thank all colleagues who have contributed to it; it is great to see such cross-party agreement on this important subject.”
You can read the full Westminster Hall debate here, and watch Nigel’s speech in the debate in the House of Commons below: