The Guardian Seems Conflicted On The Value Of Music

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Musicians should be paid fairly for the work they do in creating the music we bop along to. Musicians are demanding too much from the people who use the music musicians make. Only The Guardian would manage to hold both views simultaneously. But that’s what they manage to do.

In the opinion pages, here’s Debbie Harry:

In 2016, I joined a campaign with the music community and other creative sectors to fight to ensure that video-streaming services, such as YouTube, pay fairly for music and other creative content that they profit from. Now, in 2019, we have made great progress, but we are not there yet. The EU is on the verge of adopting a law that will significantly improve the ability of the creative community to secure fair deals for the use of their work by user-uploaded content services such as YouTube. This legislation, namely article 13 of the proposed copyright directive, would fix a fundamental flaw in the music market known as the “value gap”, where fair revenues are not being returned to those who make the music by these platforms.

Musicians should get more money when their music is used. Then here’s The Guardian on their culture pages:

By 2023, venues hosting DJ events – also including cafes, restaurants and hotels – will pay 9p per person per hour, versus an average of 3.9p today. This money is collected by Phonographic Performance (PPL) and distributed to the artists and record companies whose music is being played; the changes don’t affect venues that use music only in the background. Announcing the changes, the PPL stated: “The current tariff has been in place for around 30 years, and PPL’s view, supported by economic analysis, is that the fees in it are too low to be an appropriate reflection of the value to businesses of using recorded music.”

Musicians should be fairly paid. Except perhaps they shouldn’t be:

There has nevertheless been a backlash from the hospitality industry. “The margins for music venues are being repeatedly squeezed, and this is yet another nail in the coffin – some venues will undoubtedly be pushed over the edge by this increase,” said Steve Ball, the chief executive of the Columbo Group, which runs London venues including XOYO and the Jazz Cafe. He told the Guardian that the move could lead to job losses at venues, and therefore limit opportunities for up-and-coming musicians. “This greed will devastate the music scene in the UK, not only for those in the industry but for punters too … There is absolutely no benefit to PPL’s proposals.” “It is only going to force more and more venues out of business,” said Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, which represents 700 companies across the sector and estimates the increase in costs to the industry at £49m.

Our own conclusion around here is that the people who write the Guardian know a few people who run discos and don’t know anyone at YouTube. Can’t think of what else leads to the divergent views there.