Sting, Rea, Knopfler and more: North East musicians sign letter challenging streaming platforms

Sting Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Over 150 musicians have written a letter to the Prime Minister calling for a reform of the current system of music streaming.

Alongside the likes of Sir Paul McCartney and Kate Bush, included in that list are prominent North East talents: Sting, Chris Rea, Mark Knopfler, Nadine Shah, Bruce Welch, Norma Waterson, Eliza Carthy, Martin Carthy, Field Music and Becky Unthank.

"For too long, streaming platforms, record labels, and other internet giants have exploited performers and creators without rewarding them fairly"

The letter was written by the Musicians' Union  in association with the Ivors Academy and the #BrokenRecord campaign. It says "the law has not kept up with the pace of technological change".

The letter written by the Musician's Union and signed by over 150 artists.

Julie Elliott, Labour MP for Sunderland Central, sits on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, which has been investigating the economics of streaming in the music industry.

At the start of the select committee inquiry in November, singer-songwriter Nadine Shah from Whitburn in South Tyneside told MPs that she makes so little money from streaming that she is struggling to pay her rent.

The 34-year-old Mercury-prize nominated artist told MPs that despite having four successful albums, payments from services such as Spotify were not enough.

The Commons' Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in February put those concerns to leading players in the music streaming industry. Horacio Gutierrez, Head of Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer at Spotify, gave this response:

"It is unfortunate that she feels that way... I do not know what agreements she has with labels and publishers. I continue to point out the fact that we have paid over €20 billion since the foundation of the company, that we paid €5 billion in 2020 alone, the payouts continue to grow, the streaming payouts are what are bringing total music revenues up... the streaming music paradigm is contributing to bringing the music industry back into health."