DCMS Economics Of Streaming Inquiry

Tracking the DCMS select committee’s music streaming inquiry and the projects it instigated

In October 2020 the Digital Culture Media & Sport Select Committee in the UK Parliament announced an inquiry into the economics of music streaming.

The committee completed its inquiry and published a report in July 2021 calling for a “complete reset” of the streaming business, having identified various issues with the current business model for artists and songwriters.

In response to that, the UK government’s Intellectual Property Office instigated three streams of work seeking music industry-led solutions around remuneration, transparency and data. Meanwhile the Competition & Markets Authority undertook a study of the music streaming market.

The IPO had already commissioned a report on music creator earnings in the streaming era which also informed this debate, while the government’s Department For Digital Culture Media & Sport concurrently commissioned a study into the impact of streaming service algorithms.

Committee member Kevin Brennan MP also proposed a private members bill in 2021 that set out how a number of the copyright reforms proposed in the committee’s report might be achieved. The bill was not successful but sparked further debate about the economics of streaming within Parliament.

You can follow CMU’s editorial coverage of the inqury, the subsequent IPO and CMA work, and other developments within the streaming business that are relevant to the ongoing debates, here on this CMU Timeline.

Also included are relevant resources within the CMU Library, including guides produced by CMU Insights as part of its work for the UK’s Music Managers Forum and its ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ project.

CMU itself has been involved in the inqury and subsquent work via our CMU Insights consultancy unit. We made a submission to the inquiry and CMU’s Chris Cooke spoke at a select committee hearing in November 2022.

He is also a member of the Music Industry Contact Group and Contract Transparency Working Group that were convened by the IPO, and has consulted for the MMF and wider Council Of Music Makers as they have interacted with the various projects that were instigated following the inquiry.


Here are various publications and statements issued by the DCMS Select Committee, relevant departments of government and the Competition & Markets Authority in relation to the Economics Of Music Streaming inquiry.

Economics Of Music Streaming page on the DCMS committee website

Economics Of Music Streaming page on the UK government website

The DCMS committee’s main report (Jul 2021)

The government’s response to the DCMS committee’s report (Sep 2021)

The IPO’s report on music creator earnings (Sep 2021)

Kevin Brennan’s private members bill (Nov 2021)

A letter about the government’s economics of streaming work (May 2022)

The CMA’s market study report (Nov 2022)

A letter about the IPO convened working groups (Nov 2022)

The DCMS committee’s follow up report (Jan 2023)

The IPO’s report on rights reversion and contract adjustment (Feb 2023)

The DMCS report on the impact of streaming algorithms (Feb 2023)

A letter about the convening of a remuneration working group (May 2023)

UK industry agreement on music streaming metadata (May 2023)


The Music Managers Forum in the UK and CMU Insights have been investigating and debating the economics of music streaming through the ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ project for the last eight years. You can access some key outputs from that work here…

Dissecting The Digital Dollar: Executive Summary

Dissecting The Digital Dollar: The Book

Digital Dollar Guide: Deals Guide

Digital Dollar Guide: Transparency Guide

Digital Dollar Guide: Song Royalties Guide

Digital Dollar Guide: Song Royalties Manifesto


Other useful guides from CMU:DIY and CMU Insights

The CMU:DIY Guide Music Streaming Explained explains the deals streaming services do with the music industry and how streaming royalties are calculated each month.

The CMU:DIY Guide The Streaming Debate Explained reviews the big and ongoing debate around the economics of streaming, outlining issues that have been raised and solutions that have been proposed.

The Performer Payments From Streams guide from CMU Insights and the PayPerformers campaign explains which performers are paid when their work is streamed and how those payments are calculated.

Relevant special editions of Setlist, the music business podcast from CMU…

The ten things people get wrong about streaming – Part One

The ten things people get wrong about streaming – Part Two

The things people still get wrong about streaming – dissecting the Economics Of Streaming report


We reviewed and dissected the written submissions made to the DCMS committee’s inquiry, breaking everything down into the ten key topics and issues covered. You can check our overview of those topics here. Below we review in more detail what key submissions said about each of those issues.

#01: The big picture view
Submission: CMU

#02: The artist / label split
Submission: BPI
Submission: IFPI
Submission: MMF/FAC
Submission: BMG

#03: The recording / song split
Submission: IMRO
Submission: IMPF
Submission: BMG
Submission: The Ivors Academy
Submission: Hipgnosis Songs Fund

#04: Equitable remuneration
Submission: #brokenrecord
Submission: MU
Submission: MMF/FAC

#05: User-centric royalty distribution
Submission: Hipgnosis Songs Fund
Submission: BMG
Submission: MU
Submission: Will Page
Submission: AIM
Submission: AIM supplementary
Submission: ERA

#06: Transparency
Submission: Ivors Academy
Submission: ISM
Submission: MU
Submission: MMF/FAC

#07: Music rights data
Submission: Ivors Academy
Submission: YouTube

#08: Royalty chains
Submission: MMF/FAC

#09: Safe harbour
Submission: BPI
Submission: IFPI
Submission: AIM
Submission: IMPF
Submission: Ivors Academy
Submission: YouTube
Submission: Council Of Music Makers

#10: Curation and algorithms
Submission: Beggars Group
Submission: state51
Submission: NMC
Submission: BMG
Submission: Ivors Academy

Extra: More from the majors
Submission: Universal Music
Submission: Sony Music
Submission: Warner Music


Updates on the inquiry and its hearings from CMU – sign up to the CMU Daily and Setlist podcast for all the latest news.

May 2020

Musicians’ Union and Ivors Academy call for government intervention to “fix streaming”

October 2020

Parliament’s culture select committee to investigate the economics of music streaming

Setlist: Parliament probes the economics of streaming

US musicians group calls for cent-per-stream payouts in Justice At Spotify campaign

November 2020

Performer ER in the spotlight at first parliamentary hearing on the economics of music streaming

Setlist: Artists tell MPs streaming is “threatening the future of music”

December 2020

Culture select committee chair says he will name and shame anyone trying to stop artists from speaking out about streaming

Performer ER certain to be debated once again at second parliamentary hearing on streaming

Ivors Academy calls for regulation of major music firms and new data standards as Parliament again considers the economics of streaming

Setlist: Review of the music business year 2021

January 2021

Labels expected to argue against ER on streams at tomorrow’s select committee hearing

BPI cautions against radically changing a streaming model that is “working well for so many”

Major labels face tough questions and frank criticism at latest Parliamentary session on the economics of streaming

Artist and songwriter groups respond to major label statements at select committee streaming inquiry

February 2021

Indie labels in the spotlight as Parliament’s economics of streaming inquiry continues

MU and Ivors say they are optimistic of “fairer deal” as Parliament’s streaming inquiry proceeds

Safe harbour in the spotlight as tech platforms questioned as part of Parliament’s streaming inquiry

Spotify, Apple and Amazon face MPs in Parliament’s ongoing inquiry into streaming

March 2021

SoundCloud announces shift to user-centric royalty distribution for its 100,000 independent creators

Setlist: The music business year so far

Spotify formally enters the economics of streaming debate with new Loud & Clear website

Major label dominance and making available back in the spotlight at final Parliamentary session on streaming

Discovery Mode, ER and royalty distribution models in the spotlight as IMPALA publishes ten point plan to “make streaming work”

April 2021

156 artists call on UK government to add ER to streams and launch competition investigation into the majors

Setlist: Artists call on Boris Johnson to fix streaming

June 2021

The Rolling Stones and Van Morrison among 76 new artists joining call for ER on streams

Artist and management community welcome Sony Music’s decision to pay royalties to artists on unrecouped pre-2000 record deals

Kevin Brennan MP proposes “a new right to fair remuneration” from streaming for musicians in private members bill

Setlist: Could this bold new law finally fix streaming?

July 2021

AIM publishes insights on the artist growth model for streaming royalty distribution

Setlist: Let’s fix streaming by taxing the superstars

European performers back the UK artists calling for equitable remuneration on streams

UK Parliament calls for “complete reset” of music streaming, including ER for performers and competition investigation into the majors

DCMS Committee Economics Of Streaming Report: Lots of quotes

Setlist: The things people still get wrong about streaming – dissecting the Economics Of Streaming report

BMG welcomes Parliament’s streaming report: “The music industry desperately needs to modernise”

August 2021

Four Tet and Domino in court over sales v licence digital royalties dispute

CMU publishes new guide on performer payments from streaming

September 2021

PayPerformers says the “contractual system” for sharing out streaming income isn’t working

FAC and MMF publish white paper on Parliament’s big streaming report

Government responds to Parliament’s economics of streaming report

Responses to the UK government’s response to Parliament’s Economics Of Streaming Report

MU and #brokenrecord welcome government’s economics of streaming response, but want more commitment on copyright reforms

Merck Mercuriadis responds to NMPA chief and UK government on impact of majors on song royalties

Intellectual Property Office publishes report on music-makers’ earnings

Setlist: The government responds to Parliament’s streaming report

October 2021

UK competition regulator announces market study into music streaming

Artists and songwriter groups welcome Competition & Market Authority’s streaming market study

November 2021

MPs again call for performer ER on streams as Universal boss’s £150 million pay packet is compared to songwriter earnings

Four Tet hits out at Domino for removing his albums from streaming services as legal battle over digital royalties continues

MMF and FAC criticise Domino over Four Tet dispute, call for an end to life of copyright record deals

Kevin Brennan MP publishes copyright reforming bill he reckons will fix streaming

Statements on Kevin Brennan’s copyright reforming bill

Domino says it is “saddened” by its ongoing Four Tet dispute

Former EMI boss says Kevin Brennan MP’s proposed copyright reforms will “obliterate” the label investment model

December 2021

Kevin Brennan MP’s controversial music copyright proposals discussed in Parliament

UK artist and songwriter groups welcome government commitment to music industry reform during Friday’s Brennan Bill debate

Four Tet allowed to add new legal claims over album takedowns in Domino dispute

Independent publishers say that re-slicing the digital pie is the “defining issue” of the moment

January 2022

Universal boss Lucian Grainge talks charity, choice and change – but avoids #fixstreaming – in company wide memo

UK competition regulator outlines scope of market study into music streaming

February 2022

Tom Gray becomes Chair of the Ivors Academys

Artists and managers welcome Warner’s commitment to pay royalties to unrecouped heritage artists

Four Tet signs to Universal Music Publishing, Domino albums streaming again

March 2022

ERA publishes positive stats galore about streaming, but says industry needs to be “bold” in responding to economics of streaming debate

US recorded music market grew 23% in 2021

Spotify’s $310 million FC Barcelona sponsorship deal confirmed – and it’s great news for artists, says Spotify

UK record industry revenues grew 12.8% in 2021

Belgian performer society welcomes proposed new digital remuneration right

Global record industry revenues grew 18.5% to $25.9 billion in 2021

Spotify paid $7 billion to the music industry last year – and other fun stat brags

April 2022

Universal Music confirms it will start paying royalties to unrecouped heritage artists

May 2022

MMF launches $ong Royalties Manifesto at The Great Escape

French performer and label groups reach voluntary agreement regarding digital remuneration

CISAC outlines ISWC advancements in latest annual report

Sony Music expands commitment to pay through royalties to unrecouped heritage artists

Setlist: Sony’s announcement on unrecouped heritage artists

June 2022

Belgium introduces ER right on streams

Domino Records settles Four Tet dispute, commits to pay 50% royalty on digital

IMPALA calls for French style agreements on fair digital remuneration instead of ER

Domino comments on Four Tet settlement, insists no precedent set

Setlist: Does Four Tet’s streaming settlement set a precedent?

July 2022

EU Commissioner says copyright directive implementation can include a new ER right for performers

Warner Music signs up to SoundCloud’s user-centric initiative

Setlist: Warner Music goes user-centric with SoundCloud

CMA declines to recommend a full market investigation into music streaming

Mixed response from music industry to CMA’s decision on streaming investigation

August 2022

Setlist: Streaming market just fine, says UK competition regulator

US Congress member discusses proposed ER right for artists on American streams

September 2022

ECSA says new GEMA study puts spotlight back on digital pie debate

GESAC streaming report puts spotlight on price point, algorithms and the digital pie

PRS announces plans for new portal offering easy access to song rights data

October 2022

IMPALA again confirms opposition to ER on streams, while calling for focus on music’s “investment stream”

November 2022

Culture select committee outlines the agenda of its economics of music streaming update session

Artist remuneration remains a key sticking point as MPs return to the economics of streaming debate

Setlist: MPs ask for an update on the “complete reset of streaming”

CMA concludes that competition issues are not creating challenges for music-makers in the streaming economy

December 2022

Merck Mercuriadis criticises CMA for “passing the buck” on streaming market issues

January 2023

Universal boss says streaming needs to shift to an “artist-centric” model

MPs call for “more focus” on music-maker remuneration in Economics Of Music Streaming update

New study says up to 3% of streams in France last year were manipulated

Warner Music says 4500 artists benefiting from unrecouped advances programme, though no extension of the scheme yet

February 2023

Universal Music announces alliance with Tidal to shake up the streaming business model

IPO publishes economics of streaming research on reversion and contract adjustment rights for music-makers

UK government provides update on economics of streaming work – and publishes algorithms report that proposes more transparency from streaming services

March 2023

Universal Music chief talks more about the need to revamp the streaming model

Universal and Deezer’s alliance to find “potential new economic models for streaming” officially announced

Council Of Music Makers sets out its five key priorities ahead of ministerial review of economics of streaming work

UK government pledges “meaningful and lasting improvements” in latest response to economics of streaming inquiry

April 2023

IMPALA updates its ten step streaming plan, asks “is the label share being undervalued?”

May 2023

An Ed Sheeran stream should earn more than the sound of rainfall, says Warner boss

Sony Music chief talks streaming, short-form, gaming and AI in investor presentation

UK government convenes working group to discuss music-maker remuneration from streaming

UK government formally announces music metadata agreement and music-maker remuneration working group

Music industry responds to metadata code and remuneration working group

June 2023

Music industry organisations provide perspectives on the economics of streaming debate

Economics Of Streaming Perspectives: Association Of Independent Music

Economics Of Streaming Perspectives: BPI

Economics Of Streaming Perspectives: ERA

Economics Of Streaming Perspectives: Featured Artists Coalition

Economics Of Streaming Perspectives: Ivor’s Academy

Economics Of Streaming Perspectives: Musicians’ Union

Economics Of Streaming Perspectives: Music Managers Forum

Economics Of Streaming Perspectives: Music Publishers Association

Culture Secretary insists new music-maker remuneration working group will not become a mere talking shop

BPI and MU comment after talks over a new session musician agreement stall

July 2023

ECSA makes recommendations for streaming reform ahead of discussion in European Parliament next week

Last updated: July 2023