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Probe into music streaming market

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Written by: Emma Lunn
27/01/2022
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is launching an investigation into whether the music streaming market is working well for music lovers, as well as whether any firms hold excessive power.

In the UK, more than 80% of recorded music is now listened to via a streaming service rather than using traditional physical media like CDs and vinyl.

Linking the creators making the music and the fans listening to it through a streaming service is a complex network of companies that help make, promote and distribute recorded music.

The CMA study will examine the music streaming market, from creator to consumer, paying particular attention to the roles played by record labels and music streaming services.

Last month a report by MPs raised concerns about ‘meagre returns’ for artists whose music is played on streaming services, and the dominance of firms such as Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.

As part of its assessment of how well the market is working for audiences, the CMA will consider whether innovation is being stifled and if any firms hold excessive power. The study will help build a deeper understanding of how firms in the market influence listeners’ choices and experiences.

While focussing on potential harm to consumers, the CMA will also assess whether any lack of competition between music companies could affect the musicians, singers and songwriters whose interests are intertwined with those of music lovers.

If the CMA finds problems, it will consider what action may be necessary.

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said: “Whether you’re into Bowie, Beethoven or Beyoncé, most of us now choose to stream our favourite music. A vibrant and competitive music streaming market not only serves the interests of fans and creators but helps support a diverse and dynamic sector, which is of significant cultural and economic value to the UK.

“As we examine this complex market, our thinking and conclusions will be guided by the evidence we receive.”

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