Sir Cliff Richard looks set to lose the fight to extend the number of years he receives royalties for his records.
The singer, along with the British Phonographic Industry, wants copyright on sound recordings to last 95 years, rather than the present 50.
But an independent review commissioned by the Treasury is recommending that the terms should not be extended.
If accepted by the government, it means that Sir Cliff's earliest songs will start to come out of copyright in 2008.
His first big hit was Move It, recorded in 1958, when he was hailed as the British Elvis.
It also means the earliest official recordings from The Beatles, from 1963, will be out of copyright in 2013.
Music journalist Neil McCormack told BBC Radio Five Live it was a blow to the industry.
"This was set before the advent, the big boom of rock and roll. The boom in popular culture which has led to a whole vast number of people making their living from these royalties.
"You can make a record in 1955 and have been getting royalties... been living on that and suddenly they're gone."
The situation only applies to recording artists, however, as composers and their families retain copyright on musical scores until 70 years after the author's death.
The copyright review was conducted for chancellor Gordon Brown by Andrew Gowers, a former editor of the Financial Times.
His conclusions will be published next week, as part of the chancellor's annual pre-budget report.