Music industry commits to fixing metadata as government addresses fair compensation from streaming

Music industry commits to fixing metadata as government addresses fair compensation from streaming

The big announcement from the government about a music industry working group on creator remuneration from streaming landed yesterday.

Today the second part of the industry agreement has been announced – a commitment to improve music streaming metadata.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has issued the UK Industry Agreement on Music Streaming Metadata. 

It comes amid a growing awareness of the need to fix the data problem globally to ensure the rewards from the streaming economy are being shared fully with the correct artists, songwriters and other rights-holders. 

The Ivors Academy gave what it described as a conservative estimate a couple of years ago that, for the song compositions alone, £500 million is incorrectly allocated every year due to missing or incomplete data 

The voluntary agreement sets out a positive commitment from players across the UK music streaming industry to improve metadata in new recordings, and deliver consistent crediting on streaming services over a two-year period. The IPO noted that better quality metadata will support more accurate and timely payments for music creators from streaming.

In addition to the commitment on metadata, the government will establish a working group to explore and consider industry-led actions on remuneration for existing and future creators, while acknowledging recent progress by record labels in this space in terms of improved contracts and a wider range of options.

During 2023, there have already been interventions by the major labels and DSPs calling for a new approach to streaming remuneration. Speaking on their behalf, though, the BPI has suggested that government intervention could damage future investment in the sector, which it argues has been democratised by streaming.

The government will be discussing the formation of the working group and terms of reference with industry stakeholders over the coming weeks. Of course, since this process has begun there are now new challenges to consider for the industry and music creators, in particular the impact of AI.

The working group will be composed of representatives and experts from across the music sector and will consider the research and progress on remuneration. This includes the research commissioned and published by the IPO on music creators’ earnings and copyright.

As technology advances we need our thriving music industry to continue to offer viable career opportunities

John Whittingdale

Viscount Camrose, Minister for AI and Intellectual Property, said: “I am delighted to announce the publication today of the UK industry agreement on music streaming metadata, and the establishment of a further working group on creator remuneration. This has been a fantastic collaboration between industry experts, and the Intellectual Property Office.

“Good quality metadata benefits everyone who creates and enjoys music. The agreement on metadata is a positive commitment by the music industry to improve the quality of metadata in the UK.

“I am very pleased to see the wide range of organisations which are signatories to the agreement, and I look forward to seeing the further progress that industry makes on metadata over the next two years.”

Sir John Whittingdale, Minister for the Creative Industries, said: “The UK is a hotbed for world-beating musical talent but as technology advances we need our thriving music industry to continue to offer viable career opportunities.

“This landmark agreement on streaming metadata is a step towards ensuring UK musicians in the digital age are fairly credited and compensated for their contributions and creativity. Alongside the IPO I’m pleased to be bringing the industry together so we can explore wider issues around music creator remuneration more generally.” 

The voluntary industry metadata agreement includes:

1. A shared ambition to progressively improve metadata in new recordings and consistent crediting on streaming services over a two-year period.

2. Agreement to take steps to ensure a core data set is associated with all new recordings.

3. Agreement to follow and promote good practice in industry.

4. Agreement to establish and support expert working groups on education and technical solutions to drive forward further improvements during the two-year period.

Signatories to the metadata agreement:

• Association of Independent Music (AIM)

• British Phonographic Industry (BPI)

• Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) 

• Featured Artists’ Coalition (FAC)

• Hipgnosis Songs Fund

• The Ivors Academy

• Music Managers Forum (MMF)

• Music Producers Guild (MPG)

• Music Publishers Association (MPA)

• Musicians’ Union (MU)

• Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL)

• PRS For Music

The wider programme includes work on an industry code of practice to improve transparency around licensing and royalties for artists and songwriters. This code of practice is at an advanced stage and is expected to be finalised and published in the coming months.

The research commissioned and published by the IPO includes the Music Creators’ Earnings in the Digital Era report and a report into Rights Reversion and Contract Adjustment.


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