Building a bridge over troubled waters – addressing the problems facing the music industry

This week in the European Parliament the focus has been (in part – there’s always a lot happening here) on copyright protection. Yesterday in the Industry Committee we voted on our Copyright Opinion and this morning I hosted a meeting with representatives of the music industry to discuss the value gap and how to address the problems facing the sector.

Digital music services now account for 40% of the total market in Europe and the cultural and creative sector employs 1.1 million people across Europe. However, 26% of internet users use illegal services on a monthly basis. This has a massive impact on creatives and their ability to be paid for their work. It has led to a massive value gap between the money generated by music sharing platforms and the royalties paid to artists.

The North West has a long history of producing outstanding creative talent. It is a melting pot of creative and cultural institutions and is host to a large and diverse creative community. Greater Manchester is now the second largest hub, after London, for creative and digital content across Europe.

As well as ensuring fair remuneration for creatives, addressing these problems will contribute to European economic growth, competitiveness and the full development of the Digital Single Market.

As well as the value gap, we need to look at copyright protection – ensuring people are paid properly and acknowledged for their work. But copyright protection is only as effective as the enforcement measures which protect it. Therefore, to ensure that the cultural and creative industries sector in Europe can flourish and continue to be innovative, copyright protection must be robust.

We also need to consider that the digital world is not the same as the analogue world. We need to examine protection closely and how it can operate effectively, and fairly, in both realms and to strike a fair balance between creators and consumers.

Our work in the Industry, Research and Energy Committee is now done. The Industry Opinion on Copyright will now pass to the Legal Affairs Committee, which is responsible for the main report on copyright in the European Parliament, but I’ll be sure to keep a close eye on developments and will continue to work closely with my Labour colleagues in both the Legal Affairs and Internal Market Committees to ensure a fair balance between protecting creatives and allowing consumers to continue to enjoy their work.