In a move to address concerns about fairness and transparency in the music-streaming industry, the European Parliament is calling for new rules that could bring about changes across the EU. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favour of adopting a resolution, with 532 votes in favor, 61 against, and 33 abstentions, signaling a push for reforms.
At the core of this initiative is the aim to ensure equitable visibility for European artists on music-streaming platforms. Drawing inspiration from efforts in other jurisdictions, such as Canada's Online Streaming Act, there are discussions about potentially setting quotas to showcase a specific amount of work from European artists.
A key aspect of the proposed bill is a call for greater transparency from streaming platforms like Spotify. If the bill comes to fruition, these platforms could be obligated to open up their recommendation algorithms, a move aimed at preventing manipulation of streaming figures that might lead to reduced fees for artists.
The rise of AI-generated music and deep-fakes has also caught the attention of the EU. The proposed legislation may require streaming platforms to clearly label songs generated by artificial intelligence, addressing concerns about deceptive practices and acknowledging the growing role of technology in music creation.
Addressing revenue distribution disparities, the EU's plans include provisions to ensure a more widespread distribution of streaming revenue among all artists involved in a recording, not just the prominently named ones. This aligns with ongoing efforts in other countries, such as Uruguay, where legislation was introduced to guarantee fair and equitable remuneration for all performers in streamed works.
While some countries have taken unilateral actions, like France introducing a tax on music-streaming services, the EU's approach seeks to tackle these issues on a broader, bloc-wide scale. The European Parliament's move is seen as a response to what is perceived as a revenue imbalance that disproportionately affects a majority of authors and performers with low compensation.
Ibán García del Blanco, a Spanish politician and MEP, emphasised that the Parliament is voicing the concerns of European creators. The focus is on cultural diversity, ensuring proper crediting, and fair compensation for authors.
"The Parliament is giving voice to the concerns of European creators, who are at the heart of the music streaming market," said rapporteur Ibán García del Blanco in the EU press release. "Cultural diversity and ensuring that authors are credited and fairly paid has always been our priority; this is why we ask for rules that ensure algorithms and recommendation tools used by music streaming services are transparent as well as in their use of AI tools, placing European authors at the centre."
However, it's important to note that the resolution itself is nonlegislative. Rather, it's a call for the European Commission to recognise these concerns and potentially initiate legislative processes, acknowledging that any substantial changes may take several years to materialise, even if the appeal proves successful.