Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today backed Kevin Brennan MP’s Copyright (Rights and Remuneration of Musicians Etc.) Bill, which would reform the law to allow musicians to get revenues from online streaming of their songs. Gaps in the law currently mean that while radio play guarantees royalties for musicians of all levels of success, there is no specific right to royalties from streaming, with much of the revenue instead going to large corporations. Despite broad support for the Bill from MPs and musicians, progress was blocked by the government.
Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:
“I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his Bill and I am happy to support it. I hope that it gets Government support at some stage, if not necessarily today, because we should all see this as an important part of the levelling-up agenda. That agenda will never achieve the things that we want it to unless it addresses the imbalance of power between big corporates on the one hand and the individual and the small business on the other. That is at the heart of his Bill, and it is why all those who purport to support levelling up should support it today.”
Responding, the leader of the Bill, Kevin Brennan MP said:
“The right hon. Gentleman is right; our duty as politicians is not only to utter rhetoric occasionally, but to turn it into reality. In the case of the music industry, he is absolutely right that this is a levelling-up measure.”
Reacting after the Bill was “filibustered” by government MPs to prevent passage, Mr Carmichael said:
“It is disappointing that the government has chosen to block this Bill today. Rebalancing the relationship between recording artists and major corporations is a laudable goal and could benefit musicians across the country, including those in the isles. Whether through this Bill or by other means we have to ensure that musicians, particularly those who are not household names and who have to rely on other sources of income to make ends meet, receive a fair share of the revenue generated by their work.”