European indies trade body IMPALA has underlined its opposition to the system of equitable remuneration for music streaming.
It comes as France and Belgium have opted for a different approach to mandated rights for streaming remenuaration.
Equitable remuneration, the system employed by the broadcast sector on music royalties, has come into increasing focus since the DCMS Committee inquiry into streaming. The report by MPs suggested that the reform could provide a “simple yet effective solution to the problems caused by poor remuneration”.
In the UK, a high-profile case on streaming royalties was settled this week when Four Tet won his battle against Domino for a 50% royalty rate on streams for albums covered by a historical contract.
The broadcast-style licensing model, which mandates an equal split on royalties between label rights-holders and labels, has been backed by the #BrokenRecord campaign and MP Kevin Brennan, who tried to extend equitable remuneration to on-demand streaming as part of a Private Member’s Bill.
However, labels’ bodies have come out against the proposal. Both the BPI and AIM have suggested equitable remuneration could damage the sector by reducing labels’ investment in artists. There are also suggestions it could favour legacy artists over middle and lower-tier earners.
IMPALA voiced concerns about ER in its 10-point streaming plan. Now it’s come out even more strongly following a sharply divergent approach in Europe.
While the French industry including artists and labels (with IMPALA member UPFI) has negotiated a solution addressing value in the digital music chain, including tax measures to support investment and jobs, neighbouring Belgium voted through a law with an equitable remuneration provision added at the last minute without consultation or impact assessment.
“The absence of ‘equitable remuneration’ in the French accord underlines that there is no place for this in a modern music market as it would prove disastrous for the local market,” said IMPALA in a statement. “This is something that was already rejected by all three EU institutions in their negotiations when the copyright directive was being crafted.”
IMPALA’s executive chair Helen Smith said: “The copyright directive started with the promise of a strong European copyright. But Europe’s copyright will only be as strong as its protections and guarantees if governments stick to the text which, let’s remember, is the result of a carefully crafted compromise and which includes a full package for authors and performers.”
In the UK, the Competition & Markets Authority is investigating the streaming market, while the government is in talks with the music industry.