The UK Governments Parliamentary Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee are investigating the royalty split practices of music streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and others.

The investigation and any potential outcome aim to support artists by helping them gain a fair share of record label earnings from streaming. As it stands, royalty fees paid by the streaming service go directly to the record label which in turn pass on a share to the artist. The problem is less the share that Apple Music for instance takes. Rather the issue is the cut that the record labels share with artists.

Members of the UK Parliament have suggested that the split between record labels and the artists should be equal. Furthermore, proposals include giving musicians the ability to reclaim the rights to their work and masters after a set timescale (TBC).

It seems the streaming services are not against the proposals but do caution that the business provides slim margins to streaming companies. For the business model to be economically viable, streaming firms such as Apple have advised that the onus should be on record labels to split their cut.

It is a narrow-margin business, so it wouldn’t actually take that much to upset the so-called apple cart.

Apple Music‌’s Global Senior Director of Music Publishing, Elena Segal

On a personal level, I’m pleased to see this matter being looked into by the UK Government. The streaming model is great for consumers but not always so great for artists. Especially smaller artists with less of a voice and representation at their record labels.

I’ve said for a long time now that if you love Music and want artists to get a fair cut, the best option right now is Apple Music who pay much better royalty rates to artists than Spotify or YouTube. Double as it turns out.

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