DCMS Committee chair Julian Knight has warned the music industry about any “interference” with witnesses giving evidence to the streaming inquiry.
During the explosive first session last week, Nadine Shah said that she had spoken to artists who were fearful of going public with their concerns about remuneration from streaming. Shah said fellow artists were afraid to speak out "because we do not want to lose favour with the streaming platforms and the major labels".
As she was questioned further, Shah declined to comment – but MPs were clearly concerned by her evidence. Now, in a surprise move, Knight has issued a statement to confirm that any deliberate harm caused to witnesses could result in the guilty party being in contempt of Parliament. Although this is highly unusual, it opens up the prospect of an industry executive being admonished by the Speaker in front of MPs.
“We have been told by many different sources that some of the people interested in speaking to us have become reluctant to do so because they fear action may be taken against them if they speak in public,” said Knight.
“I would like to say that we would take a very dim view if we had any evidence of anyone interfering with witnesses to one of our inquiries. No one should suffer any detriment for speaking to a Parliamentary Committee and anyone deliberately causing harm to one of our witnesses would be in danger of being in contempt of this House.”
We would take a very dim view if we had any evidence of anyone interfering with witnesses to one of our inquiries
Julian Knight MP
Knight added: “This Committee will brook no such interference and will not hesitate to name and shame anyone proven to be involved in such activity.
“Anyone who wants to come forward to speak on this issue or any other issues should get in touch with the Committee and will be treated in confidence.”
Guy Garvey, Tom Gray, Ed O’Brien and Colin Young of CC Young were among those giving evidence in the first session. Industry figures are expected to appear before the committee to provide insights into the economics of streaming.
For our full report on the first session of the inquiry, click here.
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