Twitch will ban users for ‘severe misconduct’ that occurs away from its site

(Reuters) – Live-streaming service Twitch will ban users for offenses such as hate-group membership or credible threats of mass violence that occur entirely away from the site, in a new approach to moderating the platform, the company said on Wednesday.

The Amazon Inc-owned platform, which is popular among video gamers, said under its new rules it would take enforcement actions against offline offenses that posed a “substantial safety risk” to its community.

It said examples of this “severe misconduct” include terrorist activities, child sexual exploitation, violent extremism, credible threats of mass violence, carrying out or deliberately acting as an accomplice to sexual assault and threatening Twitch or its staff.

“Taking action against misconduct that occurs entirely off our service is a novel approach for both Twitch and the industry at large, but it’s one we believe – and hear from you – is crucial to get right,” the company said in a blog post.

Major social media companies Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc largely focus their rules and enforcement actions on content and activity on the actual services, with exceptions for certain individuals or organizations they have designated as dangerous or violent.

Twitch previously took into account off-service behaviors related to incidents on the site, such as harassment on other social media platforms.

It said it had also historically taken action against serious misconduct away from its service, such as when it indefinitely suspended the account of former U.S. President Donald Trump after a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Twitch said it did not have a large-scale approach in the past.

The company said users will be able to report such behaviors but it may also investigate cases proactively, for instance if there is a verified news report that a user has been arrested.

Twitch said it would rely more heavily on law enforcement in “off-service” cases and is partnering with an investigative law firm to support its internal team. It declined to name the firm.

The new standards will apply even if the target of the offline behaviors is not a Twitch user or if the perpetrator was not a user when they committed the acts. Perpetrators would also be banned from registering a Twitch account, it said.

Twitch said it would take action only when there was evidence, such as screen shots, videos of off-Twitch behavior or police filings, verified by its internal team or third-party investigators. Users who submit a large amount of frivolous reports will face suspension.

The company said in cases where the behavior happened in the distant past, users had gone through rehabilitation such as time in a correctional facility, and they no longer presented a danger to the community, it might not take action or might reinstate users on appeal.

It said it would share updates with the involved parties but would not share public updates about actions under this policy.

E3 2021: Biggest conference in gaming is going online

It’s been confirmed that E3, the biggest video game event in the world, is set to go ahead this year.

Instead of its usual Los Angeles location it will be held digitally and free for everyone to attend due to the pandemic. 

Nintendo, Xbox, Konami and Ubisoft are some of the developers which have agreed to participate. 

Notably absent are EA, Activision and Sony, but this isn’t unusual and often happened before the pandemic too. 

The show, which connects developers and publishers with gamers was forced to cancel last year due to global lockdowns.

Entertainment Software Association, which runs the event, hasn’t yet given any clues about how it will take hold.

Fans will be expecting to see lots of trailers, game demonstrations and pre-filmed interviews with the biggest names in the industry.

The whole event will be free to take part in – with no VIP packages or paywall features.

“For more than two decades, E3 has been the premier venue to showcase the best that the video game industry has to offer, while uniting the world through games,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, who runs ESA. 

“We are evolving this year’s E3 into a more inclusive event, but will still look to excite the fans with major reveals and insider opportunities that make this event the indispensable centre stage for video games.” 

The event will run 12-15 June.

Poland’s CD Projekt to seek M&A targets in bid to become a top gamemaker

(Reuters) – Poland’s CD Projekt will actively look for merger and acquisition targets in its bid to become one of the top three video game makers in the world, it said on Tuesday.

Investors and players had expected the Polish studio behind Cyberpunk 2077 to present a plan to fix the game that was one of the most anticipated in 2020 but was bug-ridden when it was released in December.

The announcement of acquisition plans had not been expected in the strategy document published on Tuesday.

CD Projekt said shortly before publishing the strategy update that it had signed a letter of intent to take over Canadian development studio Digital Scapes.

The company, which did not reveal the deal’s value, said it had cooperated with the Vancouver-based game development studio since 2018. The Digital Scapes team employs “around a dozen experienced game creators”, CD Projekt said.

The Cyberpunk 2077 maker was due to hold a news conference later on Tuesday.

Poland’s CD Projekt releases patch for Cyberpunk 2077

(Reuters) – Poland’s CD Projekt has released a patch for its Cyberpunk 2077 game, the video games maker said on Monday, potentially paving a way for the game to return to the PlayStation store after its removal last year.

“Patch 1.2 for Cyberpunk 2077 is now live on PC and consoles!” CD Projekt said on Twitter.

The patch 1.2 includes over 500 fixes to gameplay, graphics, audio, animation and addresses issues related to police response to player actions, among others.

CD Projekt originally had planned to release the patch last month, but it was delayed by a cyber attack.

Sony Corp pulled Cyberpunk 2077 from its PlayStation Store only a week after the game’s debut amid complaints of glitches.

Analysts have said the patch could be one of the key steps towards bringing the game back to the PlayStation store.

The patch for Google’s Stadia will follow later this week, CD Projekt added.

Lando Norris: Gaming is bringing new fans to F1

Racing games are bringing a whole new audience to Formula 1, says racing driver Lando Norris.

Lando Norris

Speaking to BBC Sounds Press X to Continuepodcast, Lando explains why he thinks his Twitch channel is ushering in a new generation of racing fans.

“A lot of people think I just race cars that go round in a circle and that’s about it,” he says.

Lando argues that playing video games can showcase drivers personalities.

“But I think until you really see it – and you’ve maybe watched Formula 1: Drive to Survive on Netflix – you see more behind the scenes and what a driver and a team has to go through to accomplish things.

“Formula One is quite tight-knit, not many people get to see the driver’s side of it,” he adds. 

“I think that’s why I also stream a lot, because people get to just see me. I’m just a normal guy who streams and plays games every day. I’m not this magical kind of guy.”

He says it’s important for people like him to “bring in new audiences.”

Press X to Continue logo
image captionLando Norris is the latest guest on the Press X to Continue podcast available only on BBC Sounds

While most of us know Lando for his talents on the grid, in his downtime he also livestreams regularly to 780,000+ subscribers on his Twitch channel.

It’s his way of showing fans he’s human. 

And while it’s unlikely to surprise you that he spends a good chunk of his time playing racing games, Lando also devotes his time to other titles like Minecraft and Call of Duty: Warzone, too.

But what came first for Lando Norris – his love of gaming or his love of racing?

“Games definitely came first,” Lando says without hesitation. 

“When I was four or five years old, my dad used to play Gran Turismo. He never really got to do any racing himself – he was a cyclist – but he loved racing. 

He says his dad was an ace at Gran Turismo on the Playstation 2.

“Growing up, watching him, I eventually got to the point where I wanted to beat him, so then I became very competitive and got into racing.

“We had a little steering wheel with the pedals, and I would sit on my dad’s lap, and have a go. 

Lando Norris racing on a track
image captionLando Norris races for McLaren in F1

While he admits it took a “a lot of time” to finally take on his father at the racing game, Lando says there’s still plenty of friendly competition when he returns home to stay with his parents. 

“I don’t think you can beat some Mario Kart now and then,” Lando says when asked what he thinks is the best racing game. “Anyone can pick it up and just have a good time, you know?

“This Christmas just gone, it was the first time I played it in several years. 

“We had a blast of a time – I think it’s something that everyone loves,” Lando adds. 

When he’s not working with his F1 team McLaren Lando spends a lot of time entertaining fans with intense racing simulators like iRacing.

Because if you can’t be out on the track in real life – this is as close as it gets according to Lando.

“In terms of realism, I would say the iRacing is probably one of the best.”

AT&T raises subscriber adds forecast on HBO Max as streaming booms

AT&T Inc said on Friday it expects global subscribers of between 120 million and 150 million for HBO Max and HBO by the end of 2025, raising its forecast as more people turn to streaming services for entertainment on the go.

In October 2019, the company had said it expected to add 75 million to 90 million subscribers for the same period.

The forecast raise comes as HBO Max, which includes 10,000 hours of content from WarnerMedia brands and libraries such as Warner Bros, New Line Cinema and Cartoon Network, competes in a crowded streaming landscape dominated by Netflix Inc, Walt Disney Co-owned Disney+ and Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video.

The company also expects to launch an advertising-supported (AVOD) version of HBO Max in the United States in June.

AT&T expects its HBO business unit revenues to more than double over the next 5 years.

The company’s shares were up nearly 1% before the bell.

How a 10-second video clip sold for $6.6 million

(Reuters) – In October 2020, Miami-based art collector Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile spent almost $67,000 on a 10-second video artwork that he could have watched for free online. Last week, he sold it for $6.6 million.

The video by digital artist Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, was authenticated by blockchain, which serves as a digital signature to certify who owns it and that it is the original work.

It’s a new type of digital asset – known as a non-fungible token (NFT) – that has exploded in popularity during the pandemic as enthusiasts and investors scramble to spend enormous sums of money on items that only exist online.

Blockchain technology allows the items to be publicly authenticated as one-of-a-kind, unlike traditional online objects which can be endlessly reproduced.

“You can go in the Louvre and take a picture of the Mona Lisa and you can have it there, but it doesn’t have any value because it doesn’t have the provenance or the history of the work,” said Rodriguez-Fraile, who said he first bought Beeple’s piece because of his knowledge of the U.S.-based artist’s work.

“The reality here is that this is very, very valuable because of who is behind it.”

“Non-fungible” refers to items that cannot be exchanged on a like-for-like basis, as each one is unique – in contrast to “fungible” assets like dollars, stocks or bars of gold.

Examples of NFTs range from digital artworks and sports cards to pieces of land in virtual environments or exclusive use of a cryptocurrency wallet name, akin to the scramble for domain names in the early days of the internet.

The computer-generated video sold by Rodriguez-Fraile shows what appears to be a giant Donald Trump collapsed on the ground, his body covered in slogans, in an otherwise idyllic setting.

OpenSea, a marketplace for NFTs, said it has seen monthly sales volume grow to $86.3 million so far in February, as of Friday, from $8 million in January, citing blockchain data. Monthly sales were at $1.5 million a year ago.

“If you spend 10 hours a day on the computer, or eight hours a day in the digital realm, then art in the digital realm makes tonnes of sense – because it is the world,” said OpenSea’s co-founder Alex Atallah.

Investors caution, however, that while big money is flowing into NFTs, the market could represent a price bubble.

Like many new niche investment areas, there is the risk of major losses if the hype dies down, while there could be prime opportunities for fraudsters in a market where many participants operate under pseudonyms.

(Graphic: Crypto asset sales surge, )

Reuters Graphic

CHRISTIE’S ‘EMBRACES TERRIFYING’

Nonetheless, auction house Christie’s has just launched its first-ever sale of digital art – a collage of 5,000 pictures, also by Beeple – which exists solely as an NFT.

Bids for the work have hit $3 million, with the sale due to close on March 11.

“We are in a very unknown territory. In the first 10 minutes of bidding we had more than a hundred bids from 21 bidders and we were at a million dollars,” said Noah Davis, specialist in post-war and contemporary art at Christie’s.

His division has never seen an online-only sale top $1 million before, he added.

In a decision that could help push cryptocurrencies further into the mainstream, the auction house that was founded in 1766 will accept payment in the digital coin Ether as well as traditional money.

“I think that this moment was inevitable and whenever institutions of any kind try to resist inevitability, it does not work out very well,” Davis said of accepting crypto payment. “And so the best thing you can do is embrace the terrifying.”

$208K FOR LEBRON JAMES SLAM DUNK

NFTs could be benefiting from the hype around cryptocurrencies and blockchain, as well as virtual reality’s potential to create online worlds. The growing interest also coincides with a surge in online retail trading during lockdowns.

The start of the rush for NFTs has been linked with the launch of the U.S. National Basketball Association’s Top Shot website, which allows users to buy and trade NFTs in the form of video highlights of games.

Five months after its launch, the platform says it has over 100,000 buyers and nearly $250 million in sales. The majority of sales take place in the site’s peer-to-peer marketplace, with the NBA getting a royalty on every sale.

The volume is rapidly rising: February has seen sales totalling $198 million as of Friday, heading for a fivefold increase from January’s $44 million, Top Shot said.

Each collectible has “a unique serial number with guaranteed scarcity and protected ownership guaranteed by blockchain”, the site says. “When you own #23/49 of a legendary LeBron James dunk, you’re the only person in the world who does.”

The biggest transaction to date was on Feb. 22, when a user paid $208,000 for a video of a LeBron James slam dunk.

One major NFT enthusiast, who goes by the pseudonym “Pranksy” told Reuters he had invested $600 in an early NFT project in 2017 and has now built that up to a portfolio “worth seven figures” in NFTs and cryptocurrencies. He asked to be anonymous to protect his family’s privacy.

Pranksy said he has now spent more than $1 million on Top Shot and made about $4.7 million by reselling purchases. Reuters was unable to independently verify the figures, although NBA Top Shot confirmed he is among the site’s biggest buyers.

“I see them as investments really, much like any other collectibles and NFTs that currently exist,” he said in an interview conducted via Twitter. “I’d never watched a game of basketball before Top Shot launched.”

‘EMERGENCE OF THE METAVERSE’

Nate Hart, a Nashville-based NFT investor who, like Pranksy, has been involved in the market since it first developed in 2017, has seen some popular digital art NFTs such as Autoglyphs and CryptoPunk surge in value.

Hart said he bought a LeBron James Cosmic NFT on NBA Top Shot for $40,000 in January, then sold it for $125,000 in February.

“We’re in awe, it just doesn’t feel real. We were in the right place, right time, got lucky, but we also took that risk,” he said.

“The space has been growing a lot. I do think that this is a little bit of a bubble. It is a bubble,” he said. “It’s hard to predict what the top will be.”

Andrew Steinwold, who launched a $6 million dollar NFT investment fund in January, warned that the majority of NFTs could become worthless in future.

But, like many backers, he is confident that some items will retain their value and that NFTs represent the future of digital ownership, paving the way for a world in which people live, socialise and make money in virtual environments.

“We’re spending a lot of our time digitally, always online, always plugged in. It makes sense to now add property rights to the mix and suddenly we have the emergence of the metaverse,” he said.

“I think it’s going to reach into the trillions of dollars one day.”

ViacomCBS touts ‘Paramount+’ to investors after mixed earnings

(Reuters) – ViacomCBS Inc kicked off its investor day on Wednesday with a focus on the upcoming rebranding of its CBS All Access streaming service to “Paramount+” – a move designed to capture a larger share of viewers while it pursues selling content to competitors.Slideshow ( 2 images )

“This is a ViacomCBS that is being reimagined for a new kind of marketplace and a new kind of consumer,” said Chair Shari Redstone.

In its fourth-quarter results announced that day, ViacomCBS said it had amassed 19.2 million paid subscribers to All Access and other streaming properties. That was up 7.2% from the previous quarter but significantly below totals for Netflix Inc, with 200 million, and Walt Disney Co’s Disney+, with 94.9 million.

While ViacomCBS was an early entry to streaming – it launched CBS All Access in 2014 – the service has been best known for “Star Trek” shows, and its content investment has paled in comparison to Netflix and Disney. CBS’ 2019 merger with Viacom, a sister company also controlled by the Redstone family, allowed for more content, including films from Paramount Pictures.

ViacomCBS hopes to distinguish Paramount+ from other streaming services through an emphasis on live sports and news. It will launch Paramount+ in the United States, Canada and Latin America on March 4; in the Nordics on March 25, and in Australia in mid-2021.

On Wednesday Chief Executive Bob Bakish said that in 2021, Paramount+ will debut 36 original series across different genres.

He said some new Paramount films will go exclusively to Paramount+ 30 to 45 days after theatrical release. All other new Paramount movies will appear on Paramount+ after their theatrical release, some as early as 90 days.

The rebranded service will include episodes and movies from ViacomCBS-owned BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures, including original series such as “The Twilight Zone” and “The Good Fight.”

It will cost $6 per month with limited commercials and $10 per month for a commercial-free option, the same rates as for CBS All Access.

The company posted lower-than-expected quarterly revenue, as the COVID-19 pandemic delayed content production and cut film revenue, despite steady demand for its streaming services.

Revenue rose 3% to $6.87 billion in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, but came in below estimates of $6.89 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net earnings attributable to ViacomCBS were $783 million, or $1.26 per share, compared with a loss of $302 million, or 49 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, ViacomCBS earned $1.04 per share, slightly above estimates of $1.02.

Spotify: Price rise ‘could push users into piracy’

Raising the price of music streaming services could lead to a rise in piracy, MPs have been told.

The music industry has been keen to increase prices for some time, saying it could help artists earn more money.

But Spotify told MPs it was wary of tweaking its monthly £9.99 subscription fee, which hasn’t changed in a decade. 

If music becomes “unaffordable to consumers”, warned chief legal officer Horacio Gutierrez, it could end up “pushing them back into online piracy”.

Gutierrez was giving evidence to a digital, culture, media and sport select committee inquiry into the economics of streaming.

It was set up last year to investigate whether musicians are being paid fairly by services like Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple Music.

All three appeared before MPs on Tuesday, but much of the talk was about one of their rivals – YouTube.

‘They pay less’

Apple Music’s Elena Segal said it was difficult for streaming services to compete with the music available on Google’s video-streaming site.

“Competing with free is very difficult,” she said. “It’s challenging to compete on an un-level playing field.

“They don’t necessarily have licenses for all the music that they use, and they don’t need to,” she said, referring to the “safe harbour” laws that protect YouTube from legal claims when users upload copyrighted material.

“Even when they do have licenses, the amount they pay… is less.”

Apple Music's Elena Segal, Amazon's Paul Firth and Spotify's Horacio Gutierrez
image captionThe inquiry heard from (clockwise from top left): Apple Music’s Elena Segal, Amazon’s Paul Firth and Spotify’s Horacio Gutierrez

Segal added that the mere fact of YouTube’s existence prevented other streaming services from raising their prices.

Another factor, she explained, was that the same songs are available on almost every music streaming service, unlike Netflix and Disney Plus, which can lure customers in with original films and TV shows.

“Those things do make it challenging to just put prices up in a vacuum… because people can just opt to go to free or to another service that will have the same music,” she said.

However, both Amazon and Spotify conceded they would not end their free, ad-supported services if YouTube was to disappear.

‘Threatening the future of music’

It is not the first time that the DCMS inquiry has heard accusations against YouTube.

The company was accused of “making an absolute fortune from other people’s work” by committee chair Julian Knight MP, after being told that YouTube paid UK record labels £35m in 2020, about half what they earned from selling vinyl records.

By contrast, Spotify said they generated £474m for the UK music industry last year.

However, Katherine Oyama, director of government affairs and public policy at YouTube said the company’s payments were “absolutely on a par” with Spotify and other streaming platforms.

Earlier this month, she told MPs YouTube had paid $3 billion (£2.1billion) to the global music industry in 2019. 

Pressed on the BPI’s claims, Oyama said record labels were pointing fingers at YouTube “to alleviate hard questions about their own industry”. She also called for more “transparency” on how the money paid to the industry was divided up before going to artists and songwriters.

Nile Rodgers
image captionDisco legend Nile Rodgers gave evidence to an earlier session in the inquiry

Earlier sessions of the inquiry saw testimony from Chic’s Nile Rodgers and members of Radiohead and Elbow, as well as executives from all three major labels.

Elbow frontman Guy Garvey said the way artists are paid for audio streams was “threatening the future of music”.

“That sounds very dramatic,” he told MPs, “but if musicians can’t afford to pay the rent… we haven’t got tomorrow’s music in place.”

By contrast, Universal Music UK’s chairman and chief executive, David Joseph, told the inquiry that artists were “very happy with the investment, very happy with advances” they currently received.

He was interrupted by SNP MP John Nicolson, who said: “I think you’re living in cloud cuckoo land here if you really believe that.”

Much of the discussion has centred around whether artists receive a fair share of the £1bn generated in the UK when their music is played online.

New models considered

At Tuesday’s session, all three streaming companies said they were willing to investigate new ways of distributing money.

One such suggestion is the user-centric payment system where, if you only listen to Dua Lipa, your entire subscription fee would go directly to her. 

Under the current system, all the money earned by streaming services is pooled before being distributed according to market share – so if Dua accounts for 1% of all streams on Spotify, she and her label receive 1% of the money.

“We would definitely be open to looking for alternative models and considering them,” said Spotify’s Horacio Gutierrez. Paul Firth of Amazon Music agreed, saying, “we should take a look at a number of these approaches” to see whether they really benefit the artist.

Segal, however, cautioned that a new approach would need to be agreed by everyone who supplies music to the streaming services before it could be implemented. 

How much does streaming pay?

At present, Spotify is believed to pay between £0.002 and £0.0038 per stream, while Apple Music pays about £0.0059. YouTube pays the least – about £0.00052 (or 0.05 pence) per stream.

All of that money goes to rights-holders, a blanket term that covers everything from massive record companies to artists who release their own music. The cash is then divided up between everyone involved in making the record.

Often, the recording artist will only receive about 13% of the revenue, with labels and publishers keeping the rest. Songwriters and studio musicians receive even less.

Independent labels tend to make more equitable deals, with some offering a 50/50 split of the profits. Artists who self-release their music stand to receive more – but may find it hard to compete with the promotion and marketing a major label can supply.

Why Harry and Meghan are ‘box office’ for Spotify

Tuesday’s hearing was the last session before MPs write their report on the streaming economy. 

It featured a brief cameo for The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who recently signed a lucrative deal to produce and host podcasts for Spotify.

“Can Harry and Megan save the music business?” asked conservative MP Steve Brine.

“That seems a little bit premature,” laughed Gutierrez, who conceded that the duke and duchess had been signed because they were good “box office”.

Prince Harry and Meghan

“At the end of the day, it goes back to attention economics,” he said. 

“The product is valued on the bas[is] of how many users it can attract, how many streams it will attract, which in turn determines how many advertisers are willing to advertise on the podcast. 

“There is a market that is emerging for talent in that regard”.

However, the couple’s podcast won’t generate any additional revenues for musicians on Spotify, unless they play licensed music within the show itself.

By Mark Savage
BBC music reporter

Streaming payments are ‘threatening the future of music’

Elbow frontman Guy Garvey says the way artists are paid for audio streams is “threatening the future of music”.

“That sounds very dramatic,” he told MPs, “but if musicians can’t afford to pay the rent… we haven’t got tomorrow’s music in place.”

The musician was giving evidence to a DCMS Committee inquiry into the streaming music market.

MPs heard the coronavirus crisis had made it apparent that artists’ earnings from streaming are “pretty horrific”.

“Young musicians who rely on live income are really going to struggle,” said Radiohead’s guitarist, Ed O’ Brien.

His comments were backed up by Mercury-nominated musician Nadine Shah, who said “earnings from my streaming are not significant enough to keep the wolf away from the door”.

Shah said she was speaking on behalf of “many fellow musicians”, who were afraid to speak out “because we do not want to lose favour with the streaming platforms and the major labels”.

Young musicians are “afraid”, agreed Tom Gray, from the rock band Gomez. “They’re worried that if they speak, they won’t be playlisted.”

Nadine Shah
image captionNadine Shah’s latest album, Kitchen Sink, has been named one of the records of the year by BBC 6 Music

The inquiry came after the Covid-19 pandemic wiped out a year of touring income, focusing artists’ attention on the money they made from their records.

At the start of the lockdown, the Musicians’ Union and Ivors Academy launched the Keep Music Alive campaign, calling streaming royalties “woefully insufficient” and urging the Government to undertake a review.

It runs in parallel with an online campaign called #BrokenRecord, founded by Gray, which seeks to address inequities in how streaming profits are shared between record labels, musicians and the streaming services themselves.

View original tweet on Twitter

Addressing MPs, Gray acknowledged that the exploitation of artists was a story as old as the music industry itself, but said streaming had “made the problem worse and more profound”.

‘Taken advantage of’

At present, Spotify is believed to pay between £0.002 and £0.0038 per stream, while Apple Music pays about £0.0059. YouTube pays the least – about £0.00052 (or 0.05 pence) per stream.

All of that money goes to rights-holders, a blanket term that covers everything from massive record companies to artists who release their own music. That money is then divided up between everyone involved in making the record.

Often, the recording artist will only receive about 13% of the revenue, with labels and publishers keeping the rest.

Explaining the discrepancy, Gray told MPs that many musicians are tied to archaic contracts, formulated in the era of cassettes and CDs, that do not reflect the realities of the 21st Century music business.

For example, he said, “major label deals still have clauses in them for physical breakages” – meaning 10% of an artist’s royalties are automatically deducted to cover the cost of damaged vinyl and CDs, even when the majority of music is being played online.

Independent labels tend to make more equitable deals, with some offering a 50/50 split of the profits, he added.

Radiohead
image captionRadiohead have fared well on streaming, but argue that lower-profile artists are being excluded

O’Brien acknowledged Radiohead had earned millions from their music – but said he was speaking up on behalf of less fortunate artists.

“The inherent problem we have as musicians is we love what we do. It’s like therapy. I had years of depression and I kept my head above water because I’m in this band with my brothers.

“I would do this for free,” he added, “and that’s precisely what’s been taken advantage of”.

Most of the musicians were careful to praise streaming services – saying they used them to discover new music and reach new audiences – but asked the government to ensure a more equitable distribution of revenues.

“I’m not here to argue for Paul McCartney to get more money,” said Gray. Instead, he noted that the world’s three biggest record labels, none of which are based in the UK, were currently enjoying “the best profit margins they have ever made in their history”.

“If we rebalance this, money goes into the UK economy,” he said. “It seems like a bit of a no-brainer. We need to protect our talent pipeline.”