UK competition watchdog targets music streaming

  • UK regulator to review music streaming
  • Sector dominated by technological platforms, music majors

LONDON, Oct. 19 (Reuters) – The UK competition regulator is planning to launch an investigation into music streaming to see if an industry dominated by platforms such as Spotify (SPOT.N) and Apple (AAPL.O) is working for consumers.

The watchdog announcement on Tuesday follows a report by a UK parliamentary committee this year that warned that links between music majors and streaming platforms could stifle innovation in the industry.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority has taken an increasingly proactive role in regulating digital markets, with investigations already launched into the power of Google, Facebook and Apple in different parts of the ecosystem.

He said he would now turn to music streaming which in Britain accounts for 80% of music consumption and is dominated by Spotify, Apple Music (AAPL.O), Amazon (AMZN.O) and Alphabet. Inc. owned by YouTube (GOOGL.O).

“The UK has a love affair with music and is home to many of the world’s most popular artists,” said Andrea Coscelli, Managing Director of CMA. “We want to do everything we can to make this industry competitive, prosperous and work for the benefit of music lovers.”

After being hammered by piracy in the late 1990s, the music industry turned to a streaming model supported either by advertising or by subscriptions to ensure more sustainable revenues for the industry.

Official figures show that the global recorded music market grew 7.4% in 2020 to $ 21.6 billion, with increased demand for paid streaming services leading the way.

A UK industry report showed that there were a total of 139 billion audio streams in 2020. Despite the growth, artists have long complained about not getting a fair share from streaming platforms.

The UK parliamentary report also noted that the big three music companies, Universal (UMG.AS), Sony (6758.T) and Warner (WMG.O), also covered up to 75% of the UK recording market. and maintained close ties with streaming platforms, prompting them to question the sector’s competition.

Market research is used to examine an industry and decide if intervention is necessary. Results may include asking the government to change regulations, encouraging companies to self-regulate, taking action against companies, and conducting a full and thorough investigation.

Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Alistair Smout and Susan Fenton

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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