Idiot, idiot, analysis

A more worrying problem for Mercuriadis may come from a souring regulatory environment for music streaming on either side of the Atlantic.

Last Friday Kevin Brennan, the Labour MP and culture committee member, brought a private member’s bill to Parliament in an attempt to rebalance the riches of music streaming towards artists.

The move comes after the committee heard complaints from songwriters and musicians, who have struggled to live off the fraction of a penny they earn from each stream of their work on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.

Concerns of the group of MPs prompted the UK competition regulator to take the first steps towards regulator action by launching a market study into the dominance of major record labels.

Sigh.

The Brennan bill would increase the share of streaming royalties that go to songwriters and musicians. Hipgnosis owns the songwriting and performance royalties paid by streaming companies. How is a law that threatens to increase the company’s revenues a threat to the company?

2 thoughts on “Idiot, idiot, analysis”

  1. “The move comes after the committee heard complaints from songwriters and musicians, who have struggled to live off the fraction of a penny they earn from each stream of their work on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.”

    There’s too many songs. Stop doing it. Anyone can click a button and listen to the hundreds of thousands of songs created since Cab Calloway and Jussi Bjorling. Why should they listen to yours? Which roughly speaking means that you have to be exceptional to make good money from songwriting.

    “Concerns of the group of MPs prompted the UK competition regulator to take the first steps towards regulator action by launching a market study into the dominance of major record labels.”

    Eh? What dominance? That used to exist, and was mostly about how there were a tiny number of broadcasters that dominated promotion, but it’s now about social media/word of mouth. People hearing a song and telling their friends.

  2. Yeah, it’s just silly – did artists make significant amounts of cash prior to the streamers? No, some did, the superstars, but the bulk of the revenues went to the record companies. Who were basically private equity guys, with a portfolio.

    And the bulk of the portfolio, ~80%, never made any money – just about managed to break-even, if you were lucky. About 10-15% lost money, badly, and the superstar remainder let you make out like bandits and paid for the rest of the flops.

    Artists might have earnt, say a fiver, off of each album sale way back when. But that was all up front. They had no way of knowing just how many times the thing actually got played, or which tracks, once the slab of vinyl was in the teenager’s bedroom. With streaming, it most likely boils down to the same amount of money, but distributed differently through time. Plus, they have the advantage of better visibility over what is actually getting played by the audience.

    If that doesn’t match their artistic sensibilities, well, tough shit.

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