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Musicians’ organisations campaign to ‘fix streaming now’

The Musicians' Union and the Ivors Academy have joined forces at a time of crisis for tens of thousands of music creators to form a new alliance

The Musicians’ Union (MU) and the Ivors Academy have joined forces at a time of crisis for tens of thousands of music creators to form a new alliance to campaign to Keep Music Alive, calling for a government review of streaming to ensure transparency and fairness.

Covid-19 has hit songwriters, musicians and composers hard with events cancelled or postponed and recording studios closed. According to the MU, music industry hardship funds have received over 20,000 applications since early March 2020. This crisis has brought into sharp relief the fact that creators and performers are sustained primarily by income generated by the live side of the music business and that streaming royalties are woefully insufficient.

The Keep Music Alive campaign aims to ‘fix streaming’ and calls for industry stakeholders to come together to agree an equitable, sustainable and transparent model for royalty distribution in the streaming era.

‘A defining moment for the music industry’

MU members have reported over £21m of lost income since the Covid-19 lockdown came into force and members of The Ivors Academy anticipate a loss of £25,000 per person over a six-month period. It would take 62 million Spotify streams to break even on a £25,000 loss, a figure that is unattainable for most music creators. One in five respondents to an MU survey said they were considering leaving music altogether.

Graham Davies, CEO of the Ivors Academy, said:

‘This is a defining moment for the music industry. Music creators are clear that the industry must change. The current models are broken. It is wrong for a few corporations to make billions from streaming while thousands of creators seek hardship support as their livelihoods evaporate.

‘We encourage everyone who wants to see positive change, that builds a strong and sustainable industry for all, to join our campaign and sign the petition. We must keep music alive.’

‘The recorded music industry must play its part’

Naomi Pohl, Deputy General Secretary of the MU, said:

‘Musicians should not be so dependent on their income from gigging and music teaching that when it falls away they are literally unable to pay their bills within weeks.

‘The recorded music industry must play its part in shoring up the individuals on whose talent and creativity it so heavily relies. We have been asking for a fairer deal on streaming for years and it is long overdue. Our members can no longer accept the record labels taking the biggest share of income. We have to fix streaming now.’

Crispin Hunt, Chair of the Ivors Academy, said:

‘Many in and outside the industry are not aware of the plight of most songwriters and composers. If people knew how little of the money they pay for music actually goes to the music creators they would be shocked. Donations are essential at this time because the hardship is real.

‘But why are songwriters and composers being given donations when others make billions on their creativity? We cannot go back to the old, broken industry when the immediate crisis is over. It’s time to create something that works for everyone.’

How to get involved

Launch of the Broken Record Appeal

On Monday 11 May, #TimsTwitterListeningParty and the #BrokenRecord campaign have come together to launch ‘The Broken Record Appeal’ to support every kind of music creator in need as a result of the Coronavirus.

Donations received via this appeal will be split equally between the MU Coronavirus Hardship Fund and the PRS Emergency Relief Fund.

Join the Broken Record Festival

In order to amplify the #BrokenRecord campaign and raise money via the appeal, #TimsTwitterListeningParty will present “The Broken Record Festival” on Sunday 24 May.

The online festival will feature:

  • Boy George with Culture Club’s ‘Colour By Numbers’ (w/ producer Steve Levine)
  • The Shins with ‘Oh, Inverted World’
  • KT Tunstall with ‘Eye To The Telescope’
  • John Grant with “Pale Green Ghosts’
  • PINS with “Wild Nights