The European Union demands streaming services increase artist royalties
(Credits: Far Out / Spotify)
The European Union has addressed streaming royalties, demanding platforms, such as Spotify, increase their payments to artists.
On January 17th, Members of the European Parliament voted to support the establishment of a new legal framework within the EU to channel equitable compensation to recording musicians.
The EU criticised existing “pre-digital royalty rates,” noting that specific systems compel musicians to accept reduced or no revenue in exchange for enhanced visibility.
The new developments are nonlegislative, but the vote marks a turn in the tide that could encourage the European Commission to take legal steps.
In a new press release, Spanish politician Ibán García del Blanco commended the European Parliament for “giving voice to the concerns of European creators, who are at the heart of the music streaming market”.
“Cultural diversity and ensuring that authors are credited and fairly paid has always been our priority,” he added. “This is why we ask for rules that ensure algorithms and recommendation tools used by music streaming services are transparent as well as in their use of AI tools, placing European authors at the centre.”
In November 2023, the streaming giant Spotify was rebuked for announcing changes to its royalty payment scheme. Notably, it stated that, from early 2024, songs would need to attain a minimum of 1,000 plays every year to return any royalties.
The EU has also requested that all streaming platforms promise full transparency regarding their use of AI. The call follows reports of “deepfake” music that mimics real-life artists without permission.
Last month, Spotify revealed plans to reduce its workforce by 17% as part of cost-saving measures. CEO Daniel Ek described the decision as “difficult”, citing a significant slowdown in economic growth. With approximately 9,000 employees, Spotify anticipates cutting around 1,500 jobs in this current round of layoffs.