New research shows YouTube dominates in Malta as EU Parliament nears Copyright vote

Some online platforms such as YouTube avoid or pay very little to music creators due to legal ambiguity

Research carried out by PRS for Music, the performing rights society for songwriters and composers in Malta, shows 85% of people in Malta used YouTube to listen to music in the last three months, and over a quarter (28%) used onlyYouTube to access music.

By contrast, just 32% of people had used Google Play, while 28% had used Spotify. Only 14% of those surveyed had not used any digital music platform at all in the last three months, demonstrating the dominance of streaming in the Maltese music market.

Online streaming services provide huge opportunities for the local music industries but equally presents significant challenges for creators trying to make a living from their work. Some online platforms, those hosting works uploaded by their users, use legal ambiguity to minimise or evade their responsibility and avoid paying royalties, or pay very little to creators.

The proposed changes to copyright law, currently under review by the EU Parliament, seek to redress this imbalance in the online market by clarifying that platforms such as YouTube are liable for the use of copyright protected works on their site and must obtain a license for the works they make available.

EU Parliament will vote on the future of the proposed legislation on 12 September. PRS for Music is part of the #europeforcreators and #lovemusic campaigns to support the vote, and is calling for music lovers to sign a petition asking European Members of Parliament to secure music’s future online.

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The research shows the importance of YouTube to users and to the music industry in Malta. Services like YouTube and Facebook have built massively successfully global business by giving users access to music and other content and it is essential that those who create and perform the music we all love can share in that success.

John Mottram, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, PRS for Music

Top-line research findings:
84% listened to or watched music videos in the last 3 months on YouTube. This compares with 28% for Spotify.
Only 14% did not listen to a music platform in the period. Penetration of music platforms is therefore high and people are not just relying on radio for music.
Proportion of time spent on the platforms used, on average, a YouTube user spends 71% of their listening time compared with just 38% for a Spotify user on Spotify.
By taking into account how long people spend listening to music, the platforms they use and how much time they spend on them, 58% of music listening time is on YouTube in Malta.
Although more people have a Google Play account, they spend more time listening to Spotify.

YouTube in Malta

Despite being available as a platform in Malta for a decade, YouTube has only this year extended their Partnership Programme (which enables YouTubers to monetise their content through the placement of advertising) to Malta following a 5,000-strong petition, led by Creators Malta founder Fabian Borg and signed by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, MEP Francis Zammit Dimech, Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri alongside members of the local creative community. Before this, Maltese YouTubers like Stella Cini were not able monetise the use of their works on the site.

About PRS for Music

PRS for Music represents the rights of songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and around the world. As a membership organisation it works to ensure that creators are paid whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. With over 100 representation agreements in place globally, PRS for Music's network represents over two million music creators worldwide. In 2017, 6.6 trillion performances of music were reported to PRS for Music with £717m collected on behalf of its members, making it one of the world’s leading music collective management organisations.

PRS for Music is also part of the joint venture company, PPL PRS Ltd, which issues TheMusicLicence, giving businesses in the UK access to over 22.2 million musical works.