Young musicians struggle to make living competing with The Beatles and Queen classics, MPs warned
Aspiring artists have to compete with Queen for stream revenue
Young musicians struggle to make a living as they compete with previous catalogs of acts like Queen and The Beatles, music experts have warned MPs.
Hits from "the last 50 years of the music industry" pile up against aspiring artists trying to break through, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has heard.
MEPs concerned with the economics of streaming music were told that talented youngsters were "struggling to make a living" with broken income from playing games on online platforms such as Spotify and Youtube.
Despite the growth of these platforms, the market has shrunk over the past 20 years, the committee heard, and artists are now facing "massive competition" for low-paying streams from both their contemporaries and classic acts.
Peter Leathem, Managing Director of Rights Management Group Phonographic Performance Ltd, said, “If you look at 2019, the top-selling albums were Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody based on the film, and Abbey Road by the Beatles - their 50th anniversary.
"If you're trying to break a new artist or get your own streaming going, you have the last 50 years of the music industry to compete with.
"You have some of the most talented people in our society to perform, etc., struggling to make a living."
MPs heard from executives of the Big Three labels of Warner, Universal and Sony about compensation for musicians, which artists have accused of being unfair and inadequate.
Streaming brings more than £ 1 billion to the UK economy and accounts for more than half of the global music industry's revenue. Activists, however, have warned the committee that musicians receive only about 16% of the total value of their work.
Executives denied that streaming was an "oligocracy" of super-rich platforms devoted to industry practices, arguing that changing the system could harm the UK economy.
David Joseph, Chairman of Universal Music UK & Ireland, suggested that more obscure artists who rely on a loyal following for live shows could be better paid online in the future.
He said, “All streams come to us and other artists because of their popularity, and there are other opportunities that we could look at. Streaming isn't perfect yet.
“I would like a platform that is not served by the algorithm. We could come to a pure service. "
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