Radiohead's Ed O'Brien Calls for Law Change Over Miniscule Payments From Streaming Sites
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Ed O'Brien is joined by Nadine Shah and Guy Garvey as he appears in front of U.K. parliament, calling out streaming services from putting artists on the 'breadline.'

AceShowbiz - Radiohead rocker Ed O'Brien has led a host of musicians criticising streaming services for putting artists on the "breadline" with miniscule royalties payments.

Ed, and fellow rockers Nadine Shah and Guy Garvey appeared in front of the U.K. parliament's culture select committee on Monday (23Nov20), to call for changes to how musicians are paid by firms like Spotify.

They are leading the Broken Record campaign, which claims artists receive about 16 per cent of the income from streams, compared to record companies' 41 per cent and the services taking 29 per cent themselves - a split far worse than the 50/50 they receive for radio play.

In his evidence the "Pyramid Song" hitmaker said it has "always been tough for artists," but, "It is even more murky now with the lack of transparency, with the opaqueness in the system. Some partners, the labels, are making huge amounts of money (but) artists are really on the breadline."

Nadine, a Mercury Prize nominated musician whose latest LP "Kitchen Sink" has been named as one of BBC 6Music Radio's albums of 2020, told committee members her streaming earnings are so paltry she is battling to pay her rent.

"I'm an artist with a substantial profile, a substantial fanbase and who is critically acclaimed but I don't make enough money from streaming," she explained. "I'm in a position now where I'm struggling to pay my rent. Money to an extent is an indication of success but here that is not the case because I am a successful musician but I'm not being paid fairly for the work I make."

She went on to add, "I think there are darker powers at play. I don't want to speculate too much on certain artists and deals with certain labels and how Spotify may favour them."

Committee members are now "seeking the perspectives" of record labels and streaming platforms before recommending any changes to U.K. law.

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