Ne-Yo: “Streaming Companies Enjoy Billion-Dollar Revenues at Our Expense…”

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The following op-ed comes from Ne-Yo, one of the most successful songwriters in the world.

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Songwriters shouldn’t have to subsidize the billion-dollar streaming industry.

The music streaming business has seen a lot of attention in the last few weeks with the introduction of new players like Tidal— a company that puts artists in control of the valuation of their music, and not at the mercy of the streaming giants.

Streaming companies like Spotify and Pandora have quickly come to the defense of their revenue models, releasing figures from what they have paid in royalties and claiming that without streaming platforms, consumers will return to piracy leaving the entire royalty system at risk of collapse.

As a songwriter, I find this to be an offensive and inaccurate argument, because the antiquated Consent Decrees—which govern how ASCAP and BMI license music, and subsequently has confined songwriter royalties to less than a market rate and enabled streaming companies to enjoy billion-dollar revenues at our expense—has the state of American songwriting on the verge of its own collapse.

I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to earn a living off other revenue streams such as concert tours and merchandise. But for my fellow songwriters, whose craft is focused on the powerful written word, music license royalties are their sole source of income.

In most industries, the value of something increases with demand.  The more people that want your goods or services, the higher the price you can expect to receive for them in the marketplace.

It’s basic fairness.  But the music business doesn’t work that way.

How much a songwriter gets paid is mostly determined by federal regulations, rather than the free market. This regulatory system was created over 70 years ago and has not been updated since 2001, before the introduction of the iPod, and before streaming music was made popular.

More people are streaming more music today than ever before – and this is a good thing. I want fans to enjoy my music on whatever platform they choose.  But I don’t want my music, and the music of my peers, to continue to be devalued by the streaming companies that reap the benefits of our work at our expense.

To illuminate how little trickles down to the songwriter level – it takes about 1 million streams for a songwriter to see $90, and multiple writers often split that share.

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Songwriters see the smallest fraction of royalty payouts because we are limited in how we can negotiate. Meanwhile, record labels and recording artists often earn 12 to 14 times more than songwriters for a stream of the exact same song. As an artist who has experienced both sides of this split, I can personally speak to the nonsensical disparity between these different incomes.

Streaming companies know they are getting a good deal under the Consent Decrees and are taking advantage of an outdated system to become billion-dollar corporations at the expense of songwriters trying to earn a living and support their families.

The time for change is now.

Congress can start by passing the Songwriter Equity Act, which would help songwriters secure royalties more reflective of the free market.

More and more co-signers continue to lend their support to this important legislation, but we need a consensus in order to evolve our music licensing system to correspond with how people listen to music today.

Passing the Songwriter Equity Act, and making simple changes to the Consent Decrees will not, as many alarmists claim, lead to the collapse of the streaming model. It will, however, create a more efficient and effective music licensing system – one that better serves not only songwriters, but also the needs of music licensees and music fans everywhere.

A thriving American music industry depends on the creativity – and in these times, the persistence – of songwriters. By updating the outdated rules that govern music licensing, we can return the right to earn fair pay for hard work to the next generation of great American songwriters and composers, so they can keep writing more of the music we all enjoy.

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Ne-Yo is an award-winning R&B/Pop singer-songwriter and member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).  This op-ed originally appeared in Roll Call.

48 Responses

  1. David

    According to Spotify’s PR screed ‘Spotify Explained’, “In the United States… statutes dictate that publishers receive ~21% the amount that master recording owners receive”. If master recording owners (i.e. usually record labels) receive at least .5 of a cent per stream, publishers would receive at least .1 of a cent. For a million streams that comes to $1000. Songwriters usually get a 50:50 split (I think), so a sole songwriter should get about $500, not $90, per million streams. Can this be reconciled with Ne-Yo’s claims? Well, he seems to be referring to internet radio like Pandora as well as streamers like Spotify, and Pandora pays in total only about a tenth of a cent per play. So that would tend to drive down the average per play, especially for a songwriter whose work is played a lot more on Pandora than Spotify. But there really is a need for some independent inquiry into the position.

    Reply
    • David

      PS, I’m not the same David as the first commenter in this thread. I will sign as DavidB from now on.

      Reply
  2. so

    “I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to earn a living off other revenue streams such as concert tours and merchandise.”

    How about the massive amount of money coming in via terrestrial radio and performance royalties from TV and Film licensing – where artists and labels make exactly zero – and mechanical royalties from album sales? Publishers and writers have been making a fortune from these sources for decades, while performing artists and labels waited patiently for their turn.

    Reply
    • Versus

      Those inequities should also be corrected, but this point does not invalidate Ne-Yo’s criticism. 2 wrongs do not make a right.

      Reply
      • Get real

        YES WE WILL GET LICENSE FEES FROM THE BARELY PROFITABLE RADIO STATIONS, THERE IS PLENTY OF MONEY TO SPREAD AROUND

        Reply
        • Hey now

          Radio stations are profitable from operations. Because ClearChannel chose to take on billions in debt to finance their consolidation is no rationale for artists to subsidize them.

          Next you’re going to say “performance tax”, right, shill?

          Reply
    • joe

      Artists shouldn’t get one penny of a performance royalty if they didn’t create the song…. they don’t send us any of their tour money when they are performing our songs

      Reply
  3. Me2

    Creators have been subsidizing mass consumption platforms for some time now, and it’s not limited to music or streaming services. Though Ne-Yo’s article obviously targets PRO consent decree, it’s always good to hear someone speaking out for the writers.

    Reply
    • Antinet

      absolutely not limited to the music side. It’s also happening in photography, illustration, fabric design, writing, and video. There are long lists of charlatans out there fleecing newbies to build their startups, and then the company gets bought out for millions by one of the big boys, like Corbis, Getty, who are then owed by other monsters.

      THe number one warning I would give someone signing up to a new ‘artist-friendly’ service is how readily can you yank your catalog out once they get bought out by someone bigger, because this is how the big fish troll for the little creative fish and their copyrights. You really gotta watch out.

      Reply
  4. Industry Manager

    @So

    You obviously dont know how sync licensing (i.e. film/tv]licensing) works. Labels make money from the master used in the film/tv show and often will even dip into publishing of the artist.

    Almost ALL artists in todays market are compensated for synch licenses when the MFN fee is negotiated, via publishing that was taken from the actual songwriters. For instance there are A List artist (i could but wont give names) will often take north of 30% of publishing and credit even if they had nothing to do with writing said record. Almost ALL artist take publishing from the writers, because the artist often times uses their clout to say hey, if you want this placement, give me some publishing.

    You’re also COMPLETELY off base when you state – “and mechanical royalties from album sales? Publishers and writers have been making a fortune from these sources for decades, while performing artists and labels waited patiently for their turn.”

    I wont continue explaining everything your wrong about because, well you aren’t very knowledgeable to begin with, in regards to the matters in which you speak.

    Reply
    • so

      Curious that only concert tours and merchandise were mentioned as “other revenue streams”, that’s the main point. And of course labels make money from synchs for the master recording. There’s no PRO money for them, or any from terrestrial radio play. The Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act gave them their first shot.

      Reply
    • Industry Manager is WRONG

      Industry Manager

      “@So

      You obviously dont know how sync licensing (i.e. film/tv]licensing) works. Labels make money from the master used in the film/tv show and often will even dip into publishing of the artist.”

      Um…. Explain to us how a record label “dips into” an artist’s publishing income on a synch license.

      Ans So was COMPLETELY ON POINT when he stated that publishers and writers have been making a fortune from mechanical royalties from album sales for decades.

      I think we all would appreciate it if you actually did decline to “continue explaining everything” because, well YOU, sir aren’t very knowledgeable in regards to these matters of which you speak.

      Reply
    • Antinet

      There are so many corporate bootlicking posters out there on music boards jealously moaning about what talented people make (when they don’t make squat) that I have to think these are posters from labels and corporate entities trying to paint the artists as the greedy ones, instead of the truly greedy filth that live off people with talent,. charisma and morals.

      Reply
  5. b

    I suppose I agree with Neyo here.

    However, Spotify / Pandora – I don’t think they are making any money. As companies, don’t they lose a ton of money in royalties payments each year? I am sure the executives have some (overblown and un-justified) equity valuations that look nice, but those are executives, not companies. You can blame Wall Street for money these guys make, not the business model. The business model (so far) is a money loser.

    Investors are attracted to subscriber growth – where subscribers probably represent alternative business value than just as music customers. I am not sure any investor is looking at Spotify as their value in music distribution – their perceived value is being able to connect with 45 million customers (which in my argument is using artists unfairly without sharing in that wall street valuation). This situation is the same reason FB looks like it makes money – they don’t, and can’t. The valuations are just out-of-touch with reality.

    In my opinion, publishers, songwriters should have a higher stake in streaming music (no more federal mandate, but negotiated rates by hopefully collective societies, much like in Europe). But the publishing ecosystem in the US is horrible, data to appropriately find / pay on content bad as well. I am amazed anybody can pay a royalty to a songwriter in America with all the various factions in play. The law is just a tiny, very tiny corner of the US problem, but I do agree, it is a problem

    But also, why do people get hung up on songwriter royalties? Reading these comments sections make it seem like ASCAP / BMI / SESAC are the only sources of revenue for an artist.. What about label payments? Doesn’t the label give a songwriter something to own the licensing / distribution of your content? Labels get paid by far the lion share of each royalty payment. Don’t label payments get distributed to the songwriters / musicians? Or did you just get paid an up front advance for the label contributions on marketing and exposure, and never again another payment? I ask cause I don’t know…

    To me, a streaming music service should be able to sign whatever deal they can negotiate to source the content they want to stream. That deal should be with the people who represent the artists for remunerative value of the content. Those services who make these deals should be able to give product away for $0.00 revenue if they choose, but this revenue should (if it factors at all) only increase the cost of the royalty payment. You see this in all of the royalty structures / best – of multiple calculation results.

    Per subscriber costs, per play costs, minimum guarantees are all a fact of life these streaming services reckon with. Paying a full per subscriber rate on 45 million non-revenue generating subscriptions is a bad business model that wall street should evaluate as a giant money pit loser. But like I mentioned, I don’t think Wall St. isn’t valuating Spotify on their music distribution model – they are evaluating them on how many subscribers they have access to for marketing or some other unknown or untapped purpose.

    FB users also give up all kinds of free content, and Facebook supposedly makes a good investment for stock gamblers. This company will never make money on ad revenue, or selling user data alone. Why are they valuated so high? The stock market casino gives these companies an aura of money makers, they are not.

    Reply
  6. Wooly

    Nice speaking out of turn. He should be referring to profits as opposed to revenues – two very different things.

    Reply
  7. Industry Manager

    @b

    Pandora has made plenty of money. Westergren states they don’t make much, all whilst the executives are taking out massive payments by cashing in stock. They are filling their bank accounts, buying EXORBITANT real estate for offices, whilst crying poor.

    You cant honestly buy into companies such as Spotify crying poor, whilst taking in so much in investments. It’s their business model which is in shambles. What they’re great at is pitching and selling the future, whatever that may be. Spotify isn’t growing fast enough and Ne-Yo is 100% correct that songwriters dont and cant make a living today.

    Even if you land a big placement on an A-List album, if it’s not a single (mind you, one that does reasonably well), you dont stand to make much and my clients and I have plenty of statements to prove just that.

    The majors got it wrong with Napster back in the day but I dont honestly fault them for rushing to protect what was at that time a thriving business. They in turn got the FREEMIUM model wrong as well. It’s simple logic….people dont pay for what you offer for free. For instance, Youtube will have an extremely tough time selling everyone on paying for what has always been free.

    Spotify has made everything over time FREE. Youtube…FREE. Exclusive content & artists (if they can figure out how to keep it off youtube) and a minimum free trial (i.e 7 days) is what’s needed. Experiences have always been a big and bold idea but everyone has had a tough time figuring out how to monetize the concept.

    Consent decrees need a massive overhaul, Labels to Publisher payout needs to be a bit more balanced as opposed to 12-14 to 1 etc. Publishers no longer invest in potential of writers, they simply wont sign anyone who isnt already receiving placements that arent generating a large amount of cash and that’s a direct reflection of publishing royalties taking a hit transitioning from mechanical to streaming.

    Labels and Artist make the money in the streaming world, not the actual creators of your favorite songs.

    Apologies for the long post.

    Reply
      • Esol Esek

        ohm the jealousy. One thing you clearly don’t understand is that rappers have been selling physical product at shows and out of cars since the start. Rap and country are actually lingering markets for physical music because of less computer penetration, but that’s probably over by now. Plus who knows how he makes in licensing on multiple fronts, being a famous personality beyond just a musician.

        It’s just pathetic that you defend a ripoff business model by saying the guy is already making money. Focus your energy on American banks (assisting these charlatans) and defense corporations when you want to go after people that are fleecing billions from the AMerican public, instead of laying into a musician for getting rewarded for talent and work. So tired of this boring yarn your kind spins.

        Reply
      • Peanut Gallery

        “I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to earn a living off other revenue streams such as concert tours and merchandise. But for my fellow songwriters, whose craft is focused on the powerful written word, music license royalties are their sole source of income.”

        I think it’s pretty clear he’s referring to all the “underdogs”. Of course he would benefit from whatever reformation may or may not take place. The point is that a culture more beneficial and profitable to all creators of music. I’m probably a “C-List” performer / songwriter. 100% of my income is generated from those 2 sources (and the occasional musical). My $60-125k a year is far from Ne-Yo’s $16m. However, I don’t begrudge his success to an extent that blinds me to the need for change.

        Reply
    • Antinet

      Well, obviously the only answer is no labels, use radio, and word of mouth, throw away one or two songs into streaming for promotion, since you’ll never any money from them, and make some specialty physical product, and keep your tour costs down (don’t be a band).

      Reply
  8. #Shutup

    tires of whining musicians who don’t understand how their music makes money for them and blame streaming companies. tired, tired, tired.

    Reply
    • @shutup

      Tired of clueless dildos perpetuating the myth that everyone is rich because you saw them at X-venue or appeared on X-television show promoting their product. get a clue, cause I’m tired, tired tired….

      Reply
  9. Paul

    “In most industries, the value of something increases with demand. The more people that want your goods or services, the higher the price you can expect to receive for them in the marketplace.”

    This is the exact opposite from reality. Anyone who has taken Econ 101 knows that as demand goes up, more suppliers enter the market, and price goes down.

    What Ne-yo doesn’t realize is that the market for one particular songwriter’s music is diminishing; as people now have a huge amount of choice in what music they listen to. Songwriters in aggregate are making more money, but maybe each individual songwriter makes less.

    (this has nothing to do with his petition against streaming companies, I’m just pointing out that he lacks a basic understanding of economics)

    Reply
    • nope

      your understanding reflects a total misunderstanding of what is really happening. That Joe Blow made a vanity CD has no bearing on any artists prospects. If you look at the stats, 80-90% of those ‘extra competition’ didn’t even sell a copy to mom and dad… so it’s if they don’t exist in the market (only to those whose business model it is to sell them a dream and exploit their vanity), to any real extent. In reality, barring a very very slight bump in others who sell niche products, there’s statistically zero effect from more entrants. The problem is not as you described..

      Reply
    • TryAgain

      Actually Nope, it is YOU, that fails to understand. Paul’s point is in fact, correct.

      Obviously, when discussing the economic effect of market competition, we’re not talking about competitive entrants in the market that have no economic effect. Those folks that didn’t sell anything don’t matter to the economic assessment, but those many that sold a few DO.

      And that’s the point that Paul was making, that you misunderstood and didn’t counter, at all.

      As he said, “the market for one particular songwriter’s music is diminishing; as people now have a huge amount of choice in what music they listen to. Songwriters in aggregate are making more money, but maybe each individual songwriter makes less.

      And this is true, undeniable and borne out by the plain facts. There is more money being spent on music than ever before. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC have ALL reported successive, record earnings and record payouts, over the last few years (just so you actually get that point: this means that, as a FACT, songwriters in aggregate, are making more money).

      Reply
      • nope

        oh please, the “Long Tail” theory has long been proven to be bunk… but you keep repeating it like you’ve studied more than a blog post and a frigging graph…

        Reply
      • Try Again

        Again, nice try but, you just keep missing the entire point.

        Obviously, you haven’t studied anything more than a mis-informed blog post or tilted graph.

        The plain FACTS are that ALL of the Performing Rights Organizations ALL report record earnings and record payouts, every year.

        So, keep telling us that “the long tail is a hoax” and that no indie artists are earning anything. It just proves that you have just bought into the “poor artists are going out of business” B.S. and have no idea what is ACTUALLY going on.

        Reply
  10. bc

    it makes me laugh, Everyone berates the streaming services yet fully interactive services like Spotify pay the labels millions and million in advances and fees. And they typically have to pay whatever the label wants from them.

    So Mr upstart streaming service pays the labels $50 million per year in advances plus another $2 million in “delivery fees” and other “admin costs.” Yet does any of this go directly to the artist? No, because the artist then has to wait until someone streams their song to get paid the penny rate.

    So what happened to all the upstart licensing costs paid to the label? Nothing, it goes into the labels pockets.

    Reply
  11. Industry Manager

    Songwriters in aggregate are in fact NOT making more money due to streaming. Streaming has not come close to replacing mechanical income (sales) for songwriters.

    The Pro’s are making more money from the fact that they are shaking down every mom and pop cafe for a blanket license, NOT streaming revenue. Terrestrial radio continues to be a great driver of royalties…again NOT streaming revenue. Mechanical royalties continue to diminish and this is what songwriters and publishers have long made their money.

    Mind you this is for songwriters. As I stated earlier labels and artists can and do see a healthy income based on the amount of streams. The fact that any company states, lets not worry about the per stream rate is utter horse shit.

    Listen, I like many others who work in this industry, professionally, support the notion of streaming. The revenue model just has to be changed by becoming not only more fair but also more transparent from the top down.

    Has anyone here realized that the man responsible for helping spread rampant piracy (Mr. Spotify) then turned around to offer a ‘solution’ to said rampant piracy? Isnt it a bit ironic? His net worth has continued to rise last I checked…just food for thought!

    Reply
    • Industry Manager is Wrong

      Let’s see….

      Industry Manager

      “Songwriters in aggregate are in fact NOT making more money due to streaming. Streaming has not come close to replacing mechanical income (sales) for songwriters. The Pro’s are making more money from the fact that they are shaking down every mom and pop cafe for a blanket license, NOT streaming revenue.”

      No one said that ONLY streaming was the source of increased songwriter income, but since YOU weren’t paying attention and decided to tilt against that windmill, the fact is that streaming IS,/b> responsible for the bulk of the increase in performance income.

      Per ASCAP’s Annual report, last year: “Revenues remained strong at $944.4 million, led by a $13.2 million increase in domestic receipts boosting ASCAP’s financial growth, <B.primarily from its new media and general licensing areas.”

      Industry Manager

      “Terrestrial radio continues to be a great driver of royalties…again NOT streaming revenue. Mechanical royalties continue to diminish and this is what songwriters and publishers have long made their money. “

      The same report shows terrestrial radio income DROPPING by $10.9 million, while streaming revenues ROSE by $7.5 million.

      What else do you want to show us you have no actual clue about?

      Reply
  12. Industry Manager

    Hmmm Let’s see here buddy…

    1) I never said terrestrial radio revenue hasn’t dropped off. We all know it has started to be replaced by other mediums such as on-demand streaming etc. I said it continues to be “a great driver of royalties”….. which guess what bud? IT IN FACT IS one of the biggest sources of income today for songwriters. Streaming pays songwriters very little, even with the rise in streaming revenues collected. Again, remember bud we’re talking about songwriters.

    I challenge you to find me one songwriter who’s Spotify, Youtube etc income is greater than their terrestrial radio pp pay on their statement.

    2) ‘general licensing’ is what again? ‘BLANKET LICENSES’ to clubs, mom and pop cafe’s, restaurants/bars etc.

    Nice try putting a spin on what I stated, which is accurate. I guess almost a decade working professionally in this industry has taught me absolutely nothing and I must be clueless…

    Doh!

    Thanks Bud!

    Reply
    • Industry Manager is Wrong

      And now comes the back-pedaling and *cough* post-exclamation “clarification” *cough* along with some continued ignorance.

      Industry Manager

      I never said terrestrial radio revenue hasn’t dropped off. We all know it has started to be replaced by other mediums such as on-demand streaming etc.”

      No, what you said was: ““Songwriters in aggregate are in fact NOT making more money due to streaming. Streaming has not come close to replacing mechanical income (sales) for songwriters.”

      First of all (and I let this go, initially), the PRO’s don’t collect or payout mechanical income. There is absolutely no point (other than your own confusion or blatant attempts to obfuscate the issue) in you bringing up mechanical income in a thread that is entirely about performance income.

      Following that totally irrelevant (and incorrect) observation, you eventually went on to actually address performance revenue, saying, categorically: “The Pro’s are making more money from the fact that they are shaking down every mom and pop cafe for a blanket license, NOT streaming revenue.”.

      So, in response to THAT very bold, plain statement, I pointed out that both ASCAP and BMI acknowledge – themselves – that a) they ARE making more money and further, that b) the increases ARE largely due to streaming.

      Again, from the ASCAP Annual Report:

      “General and Background was up $2.0 million or 1.9%. New Media fees were up $7.5 million or 29.5%.”

      You DO realize that $7.5m is GREATER THAN $2m, right?????

      And that 29.5% is a greater increase than 1.9%, right????????

      So, unless you are claiming that you are Elizabeth Matthews or Michael O’Niell and you are changing that fundamental point – that your songwriters ARE, in fact “making more money, largely from streaming revenue” in your annual report to your members…

      the plain statement you made was WRONG.

      Deal with it.

      You are certainly welcome to clarify, amend what you said or bring up other points if you want to, but what you said was incorrect.

      Just like this latest stupidity:

      Industry Manager

      “I challenge you to find me one songwriter who’s Spotify, Youtube etc income is greater than their terrestrial radio pp pay on their statement.”

      Quite a challenge. How far will I have to look….

      Oh, that’s right, we have several of those artists, right here on DMN. One of them, RIGHT ON THE FRONT PAGE where it has been, in red type, for over a YEAR.

      http://dmnrocks.wpengine.com/permalink/2014/04/03/streamingstatements

      Armen Chakmakian, in his incredibly stupid rant here about the small payout he received from streaming services, openly admitted that he had received NOTHING from terrestrial radio. EVER.

      There are thousands and thousand more. Zoe Keating and Matt Nathanson come immediately to mind, as well. There are thousands and thousands of others, who ONLY receive performance royalties from digital and have NEVER gotten any thing from terrestrial.

      So, that would be, not just one, but many, many “songwriters who’s Spotify, Youtube etc income is greater than their terrestrial radio pp pay on their statement.”

      Any other dumb challenges you want to make?

      Now, do you, with your “almost a decade in the business,” understand the point that was being made?

      Fewer superstars, making millions off of terrestrial radio, which can only play an average of about 10 songs an hour on any given station, and many, many more folks – making less, individually – over streaming = an aggregate increase.

      It is simple math. The math doesn’t lie. The math doesn’t have an “opinion” about how songwriters “used to make money” or what is “enough” money. The math doesn’t pine for the old business model, where hack, wanna-be-managers could hope to hitch their cart to the 15-20% coat-tails of a multi-million selling superstar.

      Reply
  13. Industry Manager

    At the end of the day streaming doesn’t pay anyone’s mortgage, terrestrial radio sure does though, if you have a record getting spins. My point about mechanicals diminishing is relevant because streaming does not replace that revenue lost as a result of ownership no longer being important to most.

    Getting back to what Ne-Yo, Aloe Blacc, Taylor Swift and a ton of other artists shining a light on the issue of songwriters not being fairly compensated (which has been an issue we’d been advocating years before they got major press for the issue; look up Helienne Lindval or Ellen Shipley) … the future is bleak for songwriters.

    Streaming is great for everyone besides the people who are actually creating the content. That’s the entire point here. The system has to be fixed/changed. I’m not here to argue with you or anyone as I’ve stated I support the idea of streaming, simply not the current model/compensation.

    A label owning the master has nothing to do with I or my clients still owning the composition and being able to monetize it. There’s also an issue with Lyric sites, streaming is just the whipping boy because its the future of this industry.

    Reply
  14. The Voice of Reason

    OK, let’s look how it was done in the Old Days, when musicians got paid what they deserved. Before the Internet FUCKED everything up..
    .
    1. Artists makes a record 2. Record label distributes and promotes record 3. Fans of said band go to the music store and BUY record 4. Artist tours to support record 5. Fans go see band play live 6. Fans are happy 7. Artist and label are happy..

    See the thing that is fucked up is streaming is evil and devalues music. And the public thinks music should be free, or at the most 10 bucks a month…that is fucking crazy, just crazy.

    Reply
    • Flumoxed

      As the sole composer with international film credits for an orchestral score done for a film shown in 32 countries, having done all due diligence and filed all necessary forms, it is my experience that the system is so corrupt, Harry Fox, ASCAP, nor anyone else in the chain of hands that made business with my creativity and used my work, ever put one red cent, NOT ONE PENNY in my hands. After a decade of fighting for royalties, I was told by someone at the top of the industry to ‘just move on,’ Yea right! One creates a product, hires attorneys to watch your back, protect and lock in all the rights, and still gets screwed in this business because there isn’t any transparency or accountability and everyone has a fucking giddy holiday raping the artist over and over again. From here out, I play my instrument live for audiences, and absolutely refuse to deal with anyone in this wretched business. I love what I do, pay my bills, and it sickens me that egregiousness in this country has ruined a culture that valued and respected the artists that contributed meaningful substance to their lives.

      Reply
    • MusicianWhoUnderstands

      BOOM!!!!

      Flumoxed touches on probably the BIGGEST point – that everyone should be focused on – and that this site wants to help try and distort.

      That is it is NOT that “the Internet FUCKED everything up” or that in the “Old Days, musicians got paid what they deserved.” Or that digital streaming royalties – uniquely – are “too low” and don’t/won’t lead to a sustainable music marketplace.

      It’s that the business has ALWAYS been about ripping off the artist – both the performer and the songwriter. And, by far, the biggest exploiters were, and continue to be, the “aggregators” of creative works. Not the services that sit at the end of the chain and merely distribute to consumers.

      It’s the record labels, the music publishers, the PRO’s, Harry Fox and all those copyright collector, middle-men – who make all of their money just collecting others’ copyrights and then leveraging the inefficiencies in the copyright law, the friction in the marketplace and the holes in the business – that REALLY screw creators. And they just continue to do so, in the “digital age,” by getting folks to believe things like “streaming services don’t pay enough.” Even when the plain facts are that streaming services already pay MORE than any other performing outlet, And even while the record companies pay far less, as a percentage of their revenue, to the creators they are exploiting (not to mention KEEPING all the rights, even after full recoupment!).

      I, for one, would rather take my chances with Spotify or Pandora today, when I can see what they are doing with my work and see the payments being made, than trust it all to ASAP, BMI, SESAC, HFA or any major record company or music publisher.

      Reply
  15. Industry Manager

    I guess I have to be even more clear….

    When did I say PRO’s paid mechanical royalties bud?

    Reply
  16. Industry Manager

    Furthermore, you seem to be so hell bent on proving your point, although invalid on several fronts, that you refuse to actually read what I wrote. You’d rather twist anything I state to fit into whatever you deem fits your POV. Great, have at it.

    I’d love to have you actually come meet me at our office and spew your bs in front of the company and we’d see what you’d be trying to spin at that point. Oh and the point about mechanical (which i never stated PRO’s payout)?

    Why would I speak about mechanical income? Hmmm lets see…because its where songwriters made a bulk of their money, and well, that income is now being replaced by streaming income that in fact doesn’t come anywhere close to replacing that lost income, which in turn leads to songwriters not making anything to live on and further leads to diminished investment in songwriters.

    If X artist claims to have NEVER received anything from terrestrial radio (as a songwriter) and claims to have made more (again as a songwriter) from Spotify, I’d love to see those statements posted in full (please post the link that shows said statement). And please spare me if that statement says theyve made $30 from terrestrial and $200 from spotify (over the course of years), I’m simply not interested because it doesnt get to the heart of what’s being stated (although in such an instance, you could say ‘hey, it doesnt apply here’). I’m speaking about the men and women writing hit records, who dont see much from streaming payouts as songwriters. *Question: does zoe own her masters? if so shes making more money from spotify from that fact, not as a songwriter with spotify.

    Finally, Ill ignore the last portion of your tirade… you see, I dont find it necessary to actually revert to throwing shots, shade or the like….why? well, last I checked we werent in the middle school cafeteria as 11 year olds. Oh, and those coat tails I ride…. they’re my own, considering I’ve co-written a hit myself for an A-List artist recently and have appeared on the Hot 100 as a songwriter 3x in the last 5 years….

    Oh last thing…as streaming has picked up, guess what, yes indeed more has been paid out to rights holders…this we all know. the point is still that it isnt enough to off set the lost earnings for songwriters. More so the point is that songwriters dont make diddly poo from streaming. Songwriters are judged by how much their records are selling not how many times a song has been streamed (from a publishing stand point)…..why? because mechanicals bring in the real money and it’s a revenue stream thats dying.

    As I stated Im not against streaming, neither are my clients….we’re against the current business model.

    To the points made directly above this posting….YES, the record business has been and still is very much so SHADY. Absolutely!

    Again, I’d love to meet you (and this is no joke), if paul allows you to post your email here I’ll contact you to come down to our offices in LA BUD! This is my last post on this story. Thanks.

    Reply
  17. Industry Manager

    Btw dont try to spin anything about me saying if ‘X artist has NEVER made anything from terrestrial radio (as a songwriter)’……I feel as though you’ll try to spin that so …just to be clear…

    Im well aware in the US for terrestrial, artists arent paid diddly…save it. I want to continue to re-iterate SONGWRITERS as Ive seen countless people confusing artist and songwriter payouts (not on this particular story).

    Truly my last post. Thanks.

    Reply
  18. Industry Manager is Wrong

    Industry Manager

    I guess I have to be even more clear….

    When did I say PRO’s paid mechanical royalties bud?”

    Sorry but, you’re STILL not clear. Nobody said you “said PRO’s paid mechanicals.”

    Can you even read?

    What I did was point out that you raised the issue of mechanicals, in a thread entirely devoted to performance royalties. So, no one “said” you “said” mechanicals are paid by PROS. Rather what was said, was in response to you improperly conflating the two issues. You “said” something about mechanicals, in a discussion about performance royalties. I merely pointed out that doing so is ill-informed and meaningless.

    Try to stick with us, here, bud…

    Industry Manager

    “I’d love to have you actually come meet me at our office and spew your bs in front of the company and we’d see what you’d be trying to spin at that point.”

    Post your address. I’ll see if I can schedule the time to meet with you.

    Industry Manager

    “Why would I speak about mechanical income? Hmmm lets see…because its where songwriters made a bulk of their money, and well, that income is now being replaced by streaming income that in fact doesn’t come anywhere close to replacing that lost income, which in turn leads to songwriters not making anything to live on and further leads to diminished investment in songwriters.”

    Again, why are you suggesting that streaming performance income is supposed to be “replacing” mechanical income?

    1) Even Ne Yo doesn’t make this suggestion or argument, here. This thread simply isn’t about mechanicals or the “loss of mechanical income.

    2) In any event, both performance royalties and mechanical royalties co-exist, at the same time. These rights are – and have always been – complimentary and not replacive. Artists earn BOTH mechanical income AND streaming performance income, together. RIGHT NOW. Neither is “replacing” or even meant to “replace” the other.

    2) Performance income and mechanical income have ALWAYS co-existed – well before digital streaming – in the form of terrestrial broadcast performance royalties and mechanicals. There was NEVER a consideration that one was ever intended to “replace” the other – and there isn’t one, now.

    3) Finally, any loss of mechanical income has NOTHING TO DO with streaming services. They don’t pay mechanicals, never have and don’t really care. Fortunes change all the time. Consumer trends change them. Nobody buys typerwriters or ribbons anymore, since we all use computers. Do you think Google should someow “replace” the lost income to IBM? Nobody buys film anymore because we all have digital cameras in our smart phones. It’s not Nokia’s obligation to “replace” the lost film sale revenue.

    Your point is meaningless. Streaming performance revenue is NOT a) intended to, b) supposed to, c) should, or d) will “replace” mechanical income.

    Industry Manager

    “If X artist claims to have NEVER received anything from terrestrial radio (as a songwriter) and claims to have made more (again as a songwriter) from Spotify, I’d love to see those statements posted in full (please post the link that shows said statement).”

    Apparently, you STILL haven’t read Aremn Chakmakian’s post or his responses. You might want to look again, and try to pay attention…

    Industry Manager

    “And please spare me if that statement says theyve made $30 from terrestrial and $200 from spotify (over the course of years), I’m simply not interested because it doesnt get to the heart of what’s being stated (although in such an instance, you could say ‘hey, it doesnt apply here’). I’m speaking about the men and women writing hit records, who dont see much from streaming payouts as songwriters.”

    Translation: “Yes. I admit my ‘challenge’ to you was mis-informed and I now acknowledge, what everybody in here already understood about me, which is that I am NOT talking about and don’t care about average, everyday musicians, I am ONLY talking about superstars and the old business model that created them.”

    Apology accepted!

    Industry Manager

    “*Question: does zoe own her masters? if so shes making more money from spotify from that fact, not as a songwriter with spotify.”

    I don’t know, but again, it DOESN’T MATTER in a discussion that is about performance royalties.

    You just KEEP bringing up additional, tangential issues, when you are proven wrong on your previous, plain statements.

    You challenged me – quite simply – to show you “one artist that makes more from streaming than they do from terrestrial radio.” Period. End of Statement. That was the totality of your “challenge.”

    I provided that to you, and more.

    Your response there really should be to sit back, consider the facts presented to you for a moment and hopefully reflect, and say: “Gee, I didn’t realize there are many working musicians that ONLY make performance money from digital streaming – and NEVER made ANY performance income from terrestrial. EVER. I’ve learned something.”

    But you can’t.

    You have to try and twist away from the plain facts presented to you, and toss a few more, new “conditions” and “observations” in, to try and help hide the acknowledgment that you were simply mis-informed.

    Just really poor form, dude.

    Industry Manager

    “Finally, Ill ignore the last portion of your tirade… you see, I dont find it necessary to actually revert to throwing shots, shade or the like….why? well, last I checked we werent in the middle school cafeteria as 11 year olds. Oh, and those coat tails I ride…. they’re my own, considering I’ve co-written a hit myself for an A-List artist recently and have appeared on the Hot 100 as a songwriter 3x in the last 5 years….”

    What part of the idea that “as long as you keep blowing your own horn, folks will keep calling you on it” do you not understand?

    Every time you claim to have “over a decade in the business” or “co-written a hit,” it just makes the rest of us absolutely KNOW that you are a nobody, who has never accomplished a single thing.

    So who do you manage? Just yourself?

    I truly hope that was your last post. It’s actually taking a lot out of my day to lambaste you and entertain the others in here.

    Reply

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