New ‘Brennan Bill’ to change music streaming laws

The bill follows a DMCS report published this summer and will ‘ensure composers and musicians are properly remunerated’ for streams.

New ‘Brennan Bill’ to change music streaming laws

Both musicians and MPs are backing a new bill, dubbed the ‘Brennan Bill’, which aims to see musicians and composers properly compensated for their music being streamed on services such as Spotify through legislative change.

The bill was published today (24 November), and will be presented to Parliament on 3 December. The Musicians' Union and The Ivors Academy are main backers of the new bill, and will today be joined by MPs and musicians such as Glen Matlock from Sex Pistols fame at Parliament Square, to share their support of the legislation.

Officially, the bill will be titled the Copyright (Rights And Remuneration Of Musicians) Private Member’s Bill, and is presented by Kevin Brennan MP. It follows the recent ‘Economics Of Music Streaming’ report, conducted by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee (DCMS). The bill states that it’s main aim is to “ensure performers and composers are properly remunerated, by placing the treatment of revenue gained from music streaming services onto a common footing with the treatment of revenue gained from other sources.”

Brennan, the sponsor of the bill, has said: “More and more people are streaming music – heightened by the pandemic – yet, unlike for radio, there is no guaranteed royalty payment for all the musicians who have contributed to the recording being streamed.

“To redress this, my Private Member’s Bill seeks to allow performers and composers to access means to ensure a fair sharing of revenues generated from their works. In particular, the Bill will introduce a right to equitable remuneration for performers on musical works, where works that they have performed upon are made available to the public.”

Deputy General Secretary of The Musicians' Union, Naomi Pohl, has stated: “The domination of the major music groups in the streaming market is clear. Musicians and songwriters are not getting a fair enough deal and legislative reform is overdue. Now is the time to address the imbalances in the music industry and in music streaming in particular.” The Musicians' Union will be calling on the Government to allow a free vote on 3 December, mentioning that many MPs have already voiced their support of the bill.

Pohl continued: “These reforms would lead to more new music, the revival of recording studios, a boost to the UK session music scene, the unearthing of a new generation of British talent, and Britain becoming once again a world-leading cultural hub for the recorded music industry.”

The DCMS Commons Select Committee have been examining the music streaming business model since last year, and have found issues with the fairness of payment. In summer, MPs explained the need for a “complete rest” of the music industry to address musicians receiving “pitiful returns”. The Economics Of Music Streaming inquiry in summer saw the DCMS hear evidence from artists such as Radiohead, Elbow and Nadine Shah. In April this year, 150 musicians, including Kate Bush and Paul McCartney, signed an open letter sent to Boris Johnson asking to help reform the music streaming economy.

Header Image Credit: "The British Parliament and Big Ben" by ** Maurice ** is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Ash Edmonds

Ash Edmonds Kickstart

A graduate of Music Journalism from BIMM Brighton – where he now lives – Ash has been writing about everything creative for the past few years. An avid audiophile, he spends a lot of his time searching streaming platforms, record stores and live shows trying to find his next musical obsession.

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