British music legends write to Prime Minister in plea to increase songwriting protections with streaming

Paul McCartney, Kate Bush, Damon Albarn, David Gilmour, Annie Lennox, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Brian Eno and more iconic artists plea to Boris Johnson and the UK government to regulate streaming services.
Posted: 20 April 2021 Words: Tom Curtis-Horsfall

British music legends have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to rethink and modernise streaming service regulations, and increase songwriting protections for artists.

Notable artists that have signed the letter include Sir Paul McCartney, Kate Bush, Damon Albarn, David Gilmour, Annie Lennox, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Brian Eno, Laura Marling, Marianne Faithfull, Noel Gallagher, Peter Gabriel, Massive Attack, The Chemical Brothers, and Kano. Music legends from further afield have also offered their support with Stevie Nicks, Labi Siffre, and Thurston Moore also signing the letter.

As streaming services overtake radio in terms of how we consume music, iconic British artists writing "on behalf of today's generation of artists, musicians, and songwriters in the UK" want to put the value of music back "in the hands of the music makers."

The letter states: "the law has not kept up with the pace of technological change and, as a result, performers and songwriters do not enjoy the same protections as they do in radio," with "most featured artists receiving tiny fractions of a US cent per stream”. 

It later goes on to suggest that “only two words need to change in the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act…so that today’s performers receive a share of revenues, just like they enjoy in radio” – a change which “won’t cost the taxpayer a penny but will put more money in the pockets of UK taxpayers and raise revenues for public services like the NHS” and which will contribute to the “levelling-up agenda as we kickstart the post-Covid economic recovery.”

It's a remarkable show of unity from the British music community, and hopefully will ignite a rethink in how artists are valued as streaming rapidly surpasses radio. 

Read the full letter below, as well as the full list of signatories:

To show your support, sign the petition here.

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