On 17 January, the European Parliament plenary adopted the report of MEP Ibán García del Blanco on “Cultural diversity and the conditions for authors in the European music streaming market”.
While the title of the report refers only to authors, it is to be welcomed that, during the amendment stage of the legislative procedure, the European Parliament made the decision to refer throughout the text to both authors and performers.
The content of the report points out where the streaming market has gone very badly wrong. Key elements that it contains include comments such as:
“Never before has music’s financial ‘pie’ been so large. This situation is in itself paradoxical, however: never before has the situation of creators and performers been so insecure.”
“…the current imbalance in revenue allocation in the music streaming market disfavours both authors and performers and puts the sustainability of their professional careers in the digital market at risk; welcomes any efforts towards fairer remuneration for authors and performers, in recognition of the importance of their role in the European music sector.”
While the report exposes the right irregularities, the question remains what the impact of the report will be. It states that: “It is vital to carry out a thorough analysis of the music sector’s value chain in order to identify the imbalances and put in place corrective measures through legal tools and/or codes of good practice.”
However, with the CDSM Directive having been introduced relatively recently, it is extremely unlikely that there will be another legislative initiative any time soon that would introduce the necessary “legal tools” referred to in the report. “Codes of good practice” could be introduced more quickly but would still involve lengthy negotiation, perhaps with limited success.
Nonetheless, the signal sent towards the Commission cannot be denied. The Commission is legally obliged to carry out a monitoring procedure to ensure an effective implementation of the CDSM Directive. It will have to take into account the problems highlighted in the report and ensure that national implementation of the directive addresses these wherever possible.
In particular, the Commission should note that the report: “Calls on the Commission to assess the impact of existing contractual practices in the European music streaming market, as well as of the current revenue distribution model for music streaming services, on cultural diversity and the principle of appropriate and proportionate remuneration for authors and performers, and calls on it to explore, in cooperation with the relevant stakeholders, appropriate measures, including alternative and fairer models to reallocate streaming revenues;…”
For performers, this extremely supportive report is a step in the right direction, but the destination remains far away. Much remains in the hands of the Commission and their willingness to dedicate resources to support creators and implement the recommendations in the report.
AEPO-ARTIS will maintain pressure on the Commission to ensure that the excellent work carried out by Ibán García del Blanco and his colleagues will not have been in vain.