CMA plans a market study for the music streaming market

October 19, 2021

CMA has announced its intention to launch a market study into music streaming. Following discussion by the CMA Board, the CMA will carry out work to consider and develop the final scope of the market study, before formally launching it as soon as possible. 

The DCMS Committee concluded that artists must be given a legal right to a fairer share of revenues from streaming and called for a complete reset of the market. It said that a comprehensive reform of legislation and further regulation was needed, not only to redress the balance for songwriters, performers and composers, but to tackle fundamental problems within the recorded music industry.

The CMA has now considered the report and plans to initially scrutinise the dynamics of the industry.  After that, it will consider ways to tackle any competition concerns it uncovers.

The CMA has written to the UK government and the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee to outline its intended next steps. The CMA has agreed that work in this area aligned with the CMA’s prioritisation principles, and that it supported a strategic goal of the CMA to foster effective competition in digital markets, ensuring they operate in a way that promotes innovation and the consumer interest.  It will be the next market study that the CMA launches.

Market studies examine why particular markets may not be working well for consumers. They may lead to a range of outcomes, including: a) making recommendations to the government to change regulations or public policy; b) encouraging businesses in the market to self-regulate; c) taking consumer or competition law enforcement action against firms; d) making a reference for a more in-depth (phase 2) market investigation; e) “clean bill of health”.

The CMA has a number of ongoing pieces of work promoting competition in digital markets. These include investigating Google’s ‘privacy sandbox’, Facebook’s use of ad data and Apple’s AppStore. It also launched the Digital Markets Unit, in April, which is operating in shadow form pending legislation that will provide it with its full powers. Separately to the proposed market study, an independent CMA panel is investigating Sony’s completed acquisition of ‘artist and label’ services provider AWAL.