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Competition watchdog launches probe into music streaming market



The UK’s competition watchdog has launched an investigation into music streaming.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will be asking if the market is “working well for music lovers”, as part of a study launched on Thursday, the regulator said.

According to figures released by trade association the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in January, the UK’s music consumption rose for a seventh successive year in 2021, with streaming accounting for 83% of the total.

In an update for 2021, the BPI figures, which were based on data from the Official Charts Company indicated that total recorded music consumption in the UK rose by 2.5%, with 159 million albums or their equivalent either streamed or purchased across all formats by music fans.

In its announcement the CMA said its study will be examining the music streaming market from “creator to consumer”, including a focus on the roles played by record labels and music streaming services.

It added that it will “also assess whether any lack of competition between music companies could affect the musicians, singers and songwriters whose interests are intertwined with those of music lovers” and said if it “finds problems” it will consider “what action may be necessary”.



Whether you’re into Bowie, Beethoven or Beyonce, most of us now choose to stream our favourite music

CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli

Chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: “Whether you’re into Bowie, Beethoven or Beyonce most of us now choose to stream our favourite music.

“A vibrant and competitive music streaming market not only serves the interests of fans and creators but helps support a diverse and dynamic sector, which is of significant cultural and economic value to the UK.

“As we examine this complex market, our thinking and conclusions will be guided by the evidence we receive.”

In December, MPs debated the Copyright (Rights and Remuneration of Musicians) Bill, which is sponsored by Cardiff West Labour MP Kevin Brennan.

The Bill, which is still going through the House of Commons, would introduce a right to “equitable remuneration” for streaming income – where performers have a right to receive a share without reference to their label contracts.

It would also give musicians more of a say over how their music is used, including rights to reclaim ownership from record companies after 20 years.



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