If you’re a songwriter, and haven’t been living under a rock the past week, no doubt you have seen what is going on with Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora, and Google appealing the courts decision to increase the money songwriters make from streaming royalties by 44%. This all came about with last years epic battle for the Music Modernization Act, which, is now law, save for this 30 day window to appeal which has renewed the publics interest.
In essence, under the current model, prior to the MMA, Spotify paid out $17 per every 100,000 streams of a song. Yes, you read that right. To put that in context, remember the nineties when you had to drive down to the local ALCO* store to hunt down that brand new CD that was released a few weeks back but your family finally made the trip into “the big city” for supplies? No? Just me? Hmm… ya’ll missed out on a small town middle of nowhere childhood. ;-)
Anyway, you’d buy the CD for around $15 and the songwriters for that purchase would make about $0.91 when all was said and done. If 100,000 people bought the album at $15 a pop, that is $1.5 million dollars of revenue to be distributed out to the label, distributor, recording artist, and songwriter. At $0.91 a purchase, that amounts to $91,000 ear marked for the songwriter(s). Now, it’s $0.00017 per stream.
It’s a substantial change to say the least. It’s no wonder so many songwriters are coming forward in arms over these services.
Music today has shifted to more of a marketing approach for gigs and merch. You get the music for virtually nothing, in the hopes that you’ll buy a shirt, or hat, or tickets to a show. That’s where a lot of these artists make their money from now…and that’s assuming they are writing their own music. In addition, they are having to go on tour more and do more shows while on that tour in the hopes that ticket sales will help offset the costs they need.
It’s a hard way to make a living, especially when you watch the others make substantially more with something they wouldn’t even have if you hadn’t created it.
The hierarchy of pay scale within the music industry leaves a lot to be desired, and, in my opinion, at best needs to be reversed. The songwriter is their most precious commodity. To continue to marginalize them in the worlds largest music platforms should be nothing less than embarrassing to the companies.
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