The European Parliament’s Call for Fairness and Transparency in Music-Streaming
The European Parliament has announced their pursuit for new rules aimed at bringing more fairness and transparency to the music-streaming industry across the bloc. This includes proposing a new bill that would compel streaming platforms to open up their recommendation algorithms.
The proposed bill would also require platforms such as Spotify to clearly indicate when a song has been generated by artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
While Europe has been making strides in this direction for some time now, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) today voted to adopt a new resolution by 532 to 61, with 33 parliamentarians abstaining from the vote. If this bill eventually comes to fruition, it will bring a wide range of changes to the music-streaming landscape in the region.
A Fair Platform for European Artists
At the heart of this push is a desire to ensure that European artists have fair visibility and prominence on music-streaming platforms, mirroring efforts in other markets such as Canada, which recently passed the Online Streaming Act to support Canadian artists. While final details are still being ironed out, this could potentially involve setting quotas to promote a certain amount of work from European artists.
Furthermore, the EU’s new bill may also require streaming platforms to address unfair practices by making their algorithms and recommendation engines transparent. This is intended to prevent streaming figures manipulation, which could result in reduced fees for artists.
Additionally, with the rise of AI-generated music, including “deep fakes” that try to imitate established artists, Europe may also mandate that music-streaming platforms accurately label these songs. This is similar to what France’s Deezer began doing last year.
Ensuring Fair Revenue Distribution
The EU’s plans also include measures to ensure a more equitable distribution of streaming revenue to all artists involved in a recording, not just the main “named” artist.
This aligns with efforts in other countries, such as Uruguay, where the government enacted a new law guaranteeing “fair and equitable” compensation for all performers on a streamed piece of work. This drew pushback from Spotify, who argued that it would essentially mean paying rights holders twice for the same tracks. This led the streaming giant to begin winding down operations in Uruguay in December, but ultimately reversed course when the government provided assurances that extra costs resulting from the law would not fall on music-streaming platforms.
Similarly, France recently introduced a new tax that will impose a levy of between 1.5 and 1.75% on all music-streaming services. The proceeds will fund a new body established in 2020 to support the French music sector. In response, Spotify announced plans to reduce its investment in the French market, starting with its withdrawal from two music festivals.
This latest move by the European Parliament seeks to address similar concerns on a bloc-wide scale, specifically the music-streaming revenue imbalance that “leaves a majority of authors and performers with very low compensation.”
Spanish politician and MEP Iban García del Blanco emphasized that the Parliament is “giving voice to the concerns of European creators.” He continued, stating that “cultural diversity and ensuring fair accreditation and compensation for authors have always been our top priorities. This is why we call for rules that promote transparency in algorithms and recommendation tools used by music-streaming services, as well as their utilization of AI technologies, with a focus on uplifting European authors.”