UK government orders inquiry into major labels following a report on the streaming industry

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A report released by the UK Government on September 21 in response to a recent report on the streaming industry has called for an inquiry into major labels including Sony, Warner and Universal. This comes after the release of the Economics of music streaming report by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee which was published in July with contributions from Radiohead, Nile Rogers and major UK labels including Ninja Tune and the Beggars Group who represent labels such as XL Recordings and Rough Trade. The report covered key issues in the streaming industry including royalty payouts, market monopolisation and monetisation. 

Following information from the report, the UK government has ordered a market study be undertaken, forwarding the report’s findings to the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority). In particular, the government recommends that inquiry be made into the three major labels identified as key players by the report, namely Sony, Warner and Universal. The report identifies these labels as controlling a total of 75% of the UK’s recording market. 

The development follows in a recent slew of questioning into the streaming industry and the models used for royalties and payouts by major streaming services. In the past few months, a report published in Rolling Stone found that the most streamed artists on Spotify have to split a total revenue of $1.5 billion dollars between 57,000 people, while SoundCloud recently reported success from a new listener powered revenue model that generates revenue for artists directly from their listenership. 

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