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UK watchdog launches music streaming investigation

01/27/2022 | 04:45am EDT
The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Brighton

Jan 27 (Reuters) - Britain's competition regulator has launched an investigation into the music streaming market to establish whether innovation is being stifled and if any companies hold excessive power.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had said in October that it planned an investigation into a sector dominated by the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and Alphabet-owned YouTube.

"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," it said.

While the regulator's investigation will focus on the potential harm to consumers, the CMA will also assess whether any lack of competition between music companies could affect musicians, singers and songwriters.

Artists have long complained that they do not receive a fair share from streaming platforms and last year a UK parliamentary committee warned that the ties between music majors and streaming platforms could stifle innovation in the sector.

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

In the United Kingdom more than 80% of recorded music is now listened to via a streaming service rather than traditional physical media such CDs and vinyl records.

The CMA has 12 months to publish a market study report setting out its findings and any action it proposes to take.

Outcomes can include asking the government to change regulations, encouraging businesses to self-regulate, taking action against companies and a full, in-depth investigation.

The CMA has taken an increasingly proactive role in the regulation of digital markets, with investigations already launched into the power of Google, Facebook and Apple in different parts of the ecosystem. (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru and James Davey in London Editing by David Goodman )

© Reuters 2022
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