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Campaign for increased streaming royalties launches for artists in lockdown

The Keep Music Alive campaign has been launched by The Musicians Union and The Ivors Academy

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A campaign has been launched by two leading UK music associations calling for an increase in streaming royalties for artists in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Keep Music Alive campaign has been launched by The Musicians Union and The Ivors Academy, and is seeking to raise government awareness of the struggles musicians in the UK are facing as a result of pandemic. Tour and festival cancellations have left countless artists and DJs without their primary source of income, creating an increased reliance on music sales and streaming. Keep Music Alive will call on the government, streaming platforms and record labels to help “#FixStreaming” to ensure that musicians are not left destitute as a result of the global crisis.

“This crisis has brought into sharp relief the fact that creators and performers are sustained primarily by the live side of the music business and that streaming royalties are woefully insufficient,” The Keep Music Alive team write in a launch statement

The campaign’s first move has been to launch a petition, calling on the UK government to undertake an urgent review of streaming and its effect on artists, musicians and composers. You can sign the petition here

The launch of the initiative comes just weeks after PRS For Music’s Tom Gray shared recently released figures acquired by The Trichordist which revealed just how many plays your tracks would need to have on streaming platforms in order to make the equivalent of the UK minimum wage. As Gray put it, the figures are “terrifying”,  showing that it would take 357 streams on Spotify for an artist to earn £1, while it would take 3,114 streams to earn an hour’s minimum wage pay, and that’s only going off the rare chance the artist owns 100% of the rights to their music. 

The Musicians Union states that £21 million in losses have been reported since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasising that “it would take 62 million Spotify streams to break even on a £25,000 loss, a figure that is unattainable for most music creators”.

“Musicians shouldn’t be so dependent on their income from gigging and music teaching that when it falls away they are literally unable to pay their bills within weeks,” said Naomi Pohl, Deputy General Secretary of the MU, in a statement. “The recorded music industry must play its part in shoring up the individuals on whose talent and creativity it so heavily relies. We have been asking for a fairer deal on streaming for years and it is long overdue. Our members can no longer accept the record labels taking the biggest share of income. We have to fix streaming now.”

"We want the government to shine a torch into the murky corners of the streaming payment model to find out why the money isn’t getting through to the people who make the music," added MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge.

Last month, The £5 million fund set up by Help Musicians UK to help artists affected by the coronavirus pandemic was used up within a week. You can donate to Help Musicians UK here

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