I Wrote a Hit Song With Justin Bieber. Want to See My Royalties?

Justin Bieber's 2010 smash, 'As Long As You Love Me,' co-produced by Rodney Jerkins

The following comes from Rodney Jerkins, who alongside Andre Lindal produced Justin Bieber’s 2010 hit, ‘As Long as You Love Me’.  Jerkins disclosed the royalties from that song in front of an audience of fellow songwriters and publishers in Los Angeles.

“I had a guy, who I met in my studio in 2009.  And there were different publishing companies wanting to sign this guy, and he was from Norway [Andre Lindall].  And here I am, just a producer, and I’m interested in this guy, but I’m going against the heavyweight publishing companies.

“And the only thing I can sell this guy — they can sell him on the bank — and the only thing I can sell this guy on is that I have the relationships with the artists.  I can get your music in the hands of the artist.

“And he’s goes, ‘Oh yeah, like who?’

“And I’m like, ‘Well who’s hot, who do you want to work with?’

“And he’s like, ‘Justin Bieber’.

“And I was like, ‘Okay, we’ll make that happen’.

“And so he goes, ‘Really? Well I’ll sign with you then.’

“So he left Norway, and he came to the States.  He left his family in Norway.  And came to the States, to what — to live the American Dream.  To hit the studio and potentially work with Justin Bieber.

“And guess what? It happened, within a year. Not only did he get a chance to work on a record with me with Justin.  But [the song] actually became a top hit for Justin.  It was called ‘As Long as You Love Me.’

“And his percentage on this particular song was about 20%.  That was 2010 when it came out.

“What I’m going to talk to you about real quick is 2013 — three years later — after the song blew up.

Rodney Jerkins

“And I have witnesses here, so you can fact check. Okay.

“So, on the first page. It says the total royalty amount was $149,000.”

“Top ten hit. 20%, $149,000. This is three years, three years in.  This is his performance royalty from BMI.

“The song played on the radio, it had 347,820 spins.  The royalty amount on that alone, was $53,000.

“Let’s fast-forward to this page, the interesting page.

“Sirius XM, not bad.  1,509 spins, earned him $765 dollars.

“You ready for this?

“Pandora: 38,225,700 spins earned him $278.

[audience laughs; starts talking; one person says ‘WOW!’]

“I’m not finished.

[audience quiets down]

“YouTube: 34,220,900 spins earned him $218.17.

[chatter in the audience]

“Now I did the math for you guys.  That’s on 20%.  If he were to own 100% of the song, on YouTube he would have earned $1,100.

“If he owned 100% of the song on Pandora, he would have made $1,400.

[audience member: ‘jeez’]

“That’s why I wanted to get involved.  Because to me, looking at those numbers, that’s criminal.

[audience member: ‘it is!’]

“How many songwriters in the room?

[about 65% raise their hand]

A Grammy Nominated Artist Shares His Streaming Music Royalty Statements….

We all have a unique gift. All of us in this room as songwriters. You know what our unique gift is? We create, we create. And when we create — I have four children. It’s a beautiful thing. When my daughter walks into the room and I look in her eyes I know it’s a piece of me.

[pauses]

I hope.

[boisterous laughter, clapping]

There’s no feeling better than sitting down at a piano, or with your pen and your pad, or with your phone.  And you start to create something. And then you created it and it’s yours.  And then it goes over to this company over here, and it gets played 30 something million times.

“And the only thing that shows for it is $273?  Are you kidding me?

So what happens to the next generation? To the guy from Norway who does this.  You know what happens? He’s gotta go back.

How can the next generation survive in Hollywood? You guys know what the rent is out here.

[audience: murmurs in agreement]

+ Prince Trumpet Player’s 14 Rules You Can’t Break If You Want To Turn Pro

“So what happens is — the plan is ruined.  The plan is ruined.  We come out here and we’re excited because it’s the American Dream.

“I want to be the greatest songwriter of all time!  I have the skill set!

“But the problem is that if streaming is taking over, and the numbers don’t add up…

“How will I be able to support my gift?

[applause]

“I’m very passionate about this.  This is close to me because I’ve been in the business for 23 years.  And I’ve been blessed.  And I want to see the next generation be able to experience life at the fullest level because their creativity means so much to us.”

[applause]

 


Jerkins spoke at a meeting coordinated by the Recording Academy’s Los Angeles Chapter on September 14th.  The meeting was designed to boost support ahead of the Academy’s ‘District Advocate Day’.  Jerkins is a Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter Board Trustee.

After Jerkin’s speech, we asked Academy members to forward DMN their royalty statements for confidential republication.  Please send your statements to [email protected]; be sure to specify what (if any) identifying information you want removed.

93 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Anonymous

    I’m not too worried about the Pandora numbers. The reason I’m not worried is because the bulk of that is for their free ad-supported NON-interactive offering. You don’t get to listen to that song on-demand on Pandora. You have to hope it shows up in the algorithm. The idea is, if you hear it on Pandora, and you like it and want to listen to it on-demand, you should then go to a paid subscription service and add it to your playlist, where more significant royalties can be earned.

    YouTube is the real problem. That is an unlimited free ad-supported interactive service. YouTube negates the need to pay for a subscription in order to listen to it on-demand. This is where change really needs to be made. There is some value when YouTube is used for promotional purposes, much like MTV was in the old days. I just think the content made available for free on-demand should be limited in some way, to ensure it’s availability on YouTube is used for promotion, rather than consumption. Limit the time it’s available on YouTube, or the number of times a user can listen to it before you need a subscription. Unlimited free ad-supported on-demand music needs to go away.

    • Avatar
      Dr. Elliott

      Criminal, we need a good honest system to get paid real money

    • Avatar
      Jen

      I’d like to offer my (literal) .02. Royalties from streaming in general are NOTHING to an artist. After years, I think I have enough to buy myself a fancy-as-hell supreme taco at Taco Bell. Of those paid Pandora/Spotify subs, you still see utter peanuts, or portions of portions of peanuts on the spin. The only thing that gets money is merch sales playing shows. And if you’re just a songwriter, or only do recording projects, you’re not going to see much of anything. Something needs to change.

      • Avatar
        Art

        Wait a second…you were able to earn enough to but a SUPREME taco? If that’s true, you are doing better than most of us! I only made enough from royalties to buy a hard-shell regular taco. When I unwrapped it, they had screwed up the order, and it was a soft-shell taco by mistake. Oh well. That seems to be the story of my life. Whenever I want a hard, I get a soft.

        • Avatar
          Anonymous

          They have these “Stackers” now — they’re only a dollar which, in my opinion, is a deal for some good (tasty, not healthy) grub! That’s just me talking YMMV.

    • Avatar
      Adam

      Youtube is mostly users submitting their content, most of it for free. Without it’s users, youtube wouldn’t exist. Nobody is going to pay money for that…

  2. Avatar
    Anonymous

    Sorry, but being a songwriter is not a unique gift.

    Royalty rates are horribly low, but music as a commodity (supply & demand) just isn’t that valuable.

    • Avatar
      Anonymous

      That’s an excellent way to get yelled at around here. You’re not entirely wrong though. One only need look through CD Baby or Tunecore’s catalog to get the impression that any dude off the street with a few guitar lessons can write a song and release an album. Writing a song is easy. Writing a song that people would actually want to pay money to listen to… well, that’s where the supply should start to dwindle a bit. There’s no shortage of demand. We’re talking millions upon millions of spins, even when you’re competing against other forms of entertainment: TV, Netflix, e-books, iphone apps, fidget spinners and all the other crap out there. Music is in high demand. Supply is where we fucked up. There is endless supply, and that’s what we need to fix. You can get all the music you want off of YouTube and Spotify’s free tier, all out of fear of piracy. And I believe piracy is not as big of a problem as we make it out to be. Take Netflix. They have no free tier. All their exclusive shows are available on torrent sites, and are being pirated millions of times. And yet they’re still making tons of money from subscriptions. Maybe having a free tier as a way to reduce piracy isn’t a good idea anymore, if it ever a good idea at all.

      • Avatar
        Des Chisholm

        A free tier?!? With rates from streaming so low to songwriters, how would songwriters earn a decent living if all they do is write songs? Creators of music are getting less and less and the value of music seems to have fallen drastically and unless an act has merchandise to sell at well attended gigs, there’s not much to be earned.

      • Avatar
        Anonymous

        Netflix is an absolutely terrible example. In 2016 their revenue was $8.8 billion, but their net income was only $186 million.

        • Avatar
          Anonymous

          So… in spite of spending money to produce their own content (which music streaming services typically don’t do), and in spite of the piracy associated with that content (and all the other content they have), they still end up with a positive number? Yeah, horrible example. I don’t know why I even mentioned them. I’m sure the music streaming services have net incomes much higher than that, right?

    • Avatar
      ddp

      Hey Anonymous,

      I’m wondering how much music do you listen in your everyday life!

      Art, in any form, is a commodity. You’re right on that. That’s why it need to be paid acordly. It just happen to be very easy to stole.

      Try that with a gallon of milk or a Mercedes S class.

      The ‘Demand’ is there, and the ‘Supplies’ are being stolen.

      So, enjoy your stolen glass of milk while it last.

      And good luck building your S class with your non-gifted skills.

      • Avatar
        affidavit

        If S-class is made by every other teen at his bedroom it would be worth peanuts, too. I am basically not buying music anymore because bedroom artists are so good and they give their music for free. Was already to several gigs of these free artists and yes, they are less professional and their shows are low on cocaine, but they are authentic.

    • Avatar
      Anonymous

      All you’ve proven with that is your extreme level of stupidity.

    • Avatar
      Echo

      Yea right – it’s not that valuable. Though somehow everyone wants it.

    • Avatar
      Mc

      Why not, it’s hard work. Don t you want be paid well for your hard work!

    • Avatar
      Moose

      Supply and demand really has been changed by theft. Music has value just like everything that is manufactured does. If masses of people began stealing Hershey’s candy bars pretty soon Hershey’s goes out of business. That is what is happening to music.

      • Avatar
        affidavit

        No, it’s like everyone makes their own chocolate and gives it to you to taste for free. No need to drive up to grocery for the corporate bar anymore.

    • Avatar
      Thomas

      What?? On what planet do you live and what do you base such an idiotic statement on? Do you know how few people are capable of writing a world wide hit? You have NO idea what you’re talking about. In fact you are TRULY 100% clueless if you think being a world class songwriter doesn’t require a unique talent.

      • Avatar
        Anonymous

        If it were unique there wouldn’t be more than one person doing it.

    • Avatar
      Dean Hajas

      Shut it off then and see what crickets sound like at every mall, every taxi, every wedding. Even funerals would be “ dead “ without music. Perhaps the island you’re living on has Everythjng you need.. jerk beating those drums.. no one is listening.

    • Avatar
      Del

      To say that music as an art form is not valuable is ridiculous. You are an idiot that should stay anonymous.

    • Avatar
      Artists make art, users use

      In response to your comment I have a question? Who should be the first to be rewarded for their work, the worker or those acting as middle man presenting that work? Without the artist, the presenter is unemployed. Good song writing is an art/ skill and anyone claiming otherwise is ignorant of the talent and work that is involved and has certainly never attempted to try it. True enough, with any endeavor, all things created are not art, some do indeed fall short of that classification but real art is worthy of real compensation without question.

  3. Avatar
    Hit Spins

    Over the past decade or so there’s been a trend where songwriters gravitate to Los Angeles in the hope of setting up hit making songwriting teams.
    Each contributor adds there specific percentage – one does the groove, one does the chord movements, another does the topline melody and then there’s the lyrics that sit on top..

    It’s actually a mad-cap crazy way to write songs.. especially having topliners who come in and improvise melodic and lyrical ideas over a backing track..

    In many cases it has worked and there’s been a lot of hits made this way..
    but is it a sustainable method in the business of writing songs..

    Maybe one of the answers to making a living from writing is to stop these extreme songwriting splits where you have six, ten or a dozen writers credited to a single song..

    Writing a song shouldn’t be that difficult.. personally I think one or two writers
    should be all it takes.. I mean, after-all, it’s music and lyrics.. right !!

    Of course the other issue of today is that often the artist will want a writing share even if they weren’t involved with the song and even worse.. a manager will also want a share.. that’s a trend that you should knock right on it’s head..

    • Avatar
      Anonymous

      More often than not, a song with a dozen or more writers is using samples. It’s unlikely that there are actually 12 guys in the room putting the song together (though stranger things have happened, I suppose).

  4. Avatar
    Amir Epstein

    Money for big hits is in streaming on DSP’s. Spotify pays $7,000 per million streams. That may sound like nothing, but when artists like JB get 100,000,000 streams (that’s a conservative number) that’s $700,000. And then there’s apple itunes, which pays around the same, and google play which pays a little more. And if you are lucky and getting decent numbers on Tidal, it pays $23,000USD per million. Not too shabby

    • Avatar
      Leon

      That’s very shabby dude. That’s a joke! Unbelievable. You sort should be rounded up and shot. You’ve killed the future of art.

      • Avatar
        Amir Epstein

        Haha, another angry failed musician. Don’t be angry. You just need to move out of your parents basement and do something else with your life. I hear MDonalds is hiring!

        • Avatar
          Anonymous

          Why do people who know NOTHING about the music industry always have such big opinions? Leon, you need to shut the fuck up you dick bag.

        • Avatar
          Echo

          Yea because Justin Bieber’s songwriters live in their parents basements. Idiot.

    • Avatar
      Anonymous

      Amir, you’re either grossly misinformed or just incredibly stupid.

      Spotify pays nowhere near those numbers.

    • Avatar
      Annonymous

      That Spotify money you just referenced $7,000 per 1 million streams goes to whoever owns the MASTER. Typically the record company, NOT the songwriters. Do your homework

    • Avatar
      Remy

      Yes, but artists get most of that, 700% more than songwriters.

    • Avatar
      Guy

      Amir, you’re wrong on 2 accounts:
      Those $7,000 per 1 million streams go to the Master owner which is usually the label (or the artist if it’s an independent release), songwriter royalties are nowhere near that amount.

      The other thing you’re wrong about is that it’s around $4,000 per 1 million streams and not 7,000.

  5. Avatar
    Ckeys3

    Love this information . Keep up the good works on being informative

  6. Avatar
    Bilbo

    His “spin” math is grossly spun. 347,820 spins on OTA radio is the equivalent of 250,000,000 listens on Pandora, Internet radio, et.al. So it’s an unfair comparison.

    • Avatar
      Anonymous

      Good point. When you play something on traditional radio, a single play is heard by all the thousands of people who happen to be tuned into that station at the time. On Pandora, a single play is only heard by one person (or whoever happens to be in earshot of that one person’s speakers). Plays vs. consumption. Apples and oranges.

  7. Paul Resnikoff
    Paul Resnikoff

    I look at this situation and wonder: how did the recording industry do such a better job than the publishing industry in getting their royalty share?

    Both have faced massive issues with royalties in the past two decades, yet the recording industry is thriving while the publishing industry (which includes songwriters) is struggling. The latter really got destroyed by digital/streaming formats.

    Blame the federal government, blame the platforms themselves, either way, the publishing industry has fared miserably compared to recording industry.

    • Avatar
      Anonymous

      Good question. I’d love to hear David Isrealite’s take on this.

    • Avatar
      Someone Who Knows

      I can tell you what David Israelite WON’T tell you is his take on this:

      A big part of the reason for publishers and songwriters being behind the 8-Ball on the tug-of-war over overall royalties between artists/labels and songwriters/publishers is because of the basic laws of supply and demand (discussed a bit in a Reply above) and the songwriter’s position in the chain of production.

      After all the “It all starts with a song!” and “without the songwriter, the labels and digital services have nothing!” talking points have been shouted, the actual, hard reality is that songs are a) only a “raw material” as far as the recorded music business goes, and b) an overly-abundant one, at that.

      The reality is that for every opportunity to cover a single composition that a recording artist and/or their label might have, there are literally hundreds of viable candidates. Hundreds of songwriters/songs are all competing, for that one spot, because an un-recorded song – no matter how subjectively “good” it might be – is ultimately worth nothing.

      The labels invest the money and the time to turn a ridiculously small amount of the total songs written, available and offered to them and their artists, into a final product that is actually capable of making money. They make the hard-dollars investment, and they are the gate-keepers selecting which songs get to move forward and possibly become commercially successful.

      The reason why every songwriter in the U.S. gladly accepts 75% of the statutory rate, and a cap on that, in addition, is because they literally can’t demand anything more. There’s waaaaaaay too much competition among them.

      Israelite understands this basic economic reality and until there’s not enough songs (never gonna happen!….), the songwriters and publishers will ake what they can get.

  8. Avatar
    Rennie Foster

    Just like dance music producers are lead into exploitation by the hopes of getting played by famous DJs and working with famous labels for exposure.. people with their eyes on pop culture are lead to exploitation through hopes of having their name credited beside a celebrity. We all gotta stop looking at these chosen elite famous people as if they represent the pinnacle of music, which they clearly do not. They represent those selected by a very exploitive industry run by the shadiest of elements. We all need to ignore this crap en masse and carry on making music directly for our scene and the dancefloor. To me, this guy’s first mistake was his “American Dream”, to make music for stars. Make music for a more authentic reason, and with authentic people and the result will be more authentic, regardless of YouTube or Pandora’s evil plans. The PR industry is a racket straight up and down, the streaming industry is opportunistic to the absolute max, but streaming for free is the only way they can get these kids to even tune into their propaganda now. Many of these stars can’t sell any music these days, even with radio, TV and mainstream media pushing them in our face through every expensive corporate advertising mechanism. The culture of fakery is melting all around us. Good riddance I say.

    • Avatar
      Hugo F.

      You are right. The main reason he moved is wrong in motive, still he proved he could do it, maybe there are others not so gifted or such favorable elements coming their way, it´s a long walk sometimes … Starship is something that slowly raised in the underground in recent years, taking over a naively curated culture that delivered goods directly to the consumer in a beautiful way, the struggle to maintain such elements in place has been real since this attack and costs the lifes of many brilliant artists, and by artists i mean all the ones that dedicate themselfs to make art. So here the problem also gets bigger and hard to grasp, cause all the songwriters and producers doing somethings that sounds like the next one, like 98% of current comercial music are not really making art, but they are in a sort of industry, mass one, and as all industries it must be fed in an allucinating rate, one that music as Art is not and should not deliver. In this line of thought i belive the industry AND the public is to blame. Regarding what he got paid, i wish man, that most of some of the most talend musicians on earth had even half of that in their entire carrer let alone for one song, i think this speaks volumes about our quality control and poor standarts on the matter.

      • Avatar
        Notyomomma

        So you are all actually saying ANY justin beiber song is worth more than 5 cents TOTAL!!! That dude is lucky he wasnt dragged out and beaten for filling the world with more mediocre talentless drivel. You morons think thevsame repetitive old casio keyboard beat and some former crack dealer talking about how many mansions he has is “music”. Songwriters cant make a living because the majority of you fine citizens can’t even recognize a song!!

  9. Avatar
    Hit Spins

    It all depends.. Do you want to write songs or do you want to write Hits !!

    If you’re in the Hit Business then having a vehicle to carry your song into the charts and heads of the masses is pretty well essential and the best vehicle is an established hit making recording artist.. for outside songs that usually translates into a solo vocalist artist signed to a major (or a mini major or a major indy..).

  10. Avatar
    nooo

    You guys are all very very lost in the digital realm Spotify does by no means pay $7,000 per 1 million. The exact rate is 0,004 per 1000 Streams IF your independent and own 100% on Master which means 1 Million pays $4,000 roughly. I achieved this amount almost 2 times this year as an independent artist its not impossible and quite easy by working with Spotify curators and 3rd party playlists.

  11. Avatar
    Pu- LEEEEEEEEASE!!!!!

    When…

    WHEN?!?!?!?!?!

    Will DMN EVER actually show some nominal understanding of the music business and STOP re-printing these meaningless, un-informed Apples-vs-Oranges “royalty comparisons”?!?!?!?!

    In addition to the Broadcast radio = one-to-many vs. Pandora = one-to-one fallacy that someone already pointed out above (yet AGAIN…), you/Rodney Jerkins is apparently only discussing BMI performance royalties, which were earned across a broad array of services that pay – or DON’T pay – varying amounts for the master use.

    Broadcast radio pays NOTHING for the master use.
    Pandora has to pay a statutory rate for the master use.
    Spotify has to pay a freely-negotiated rate for the master use.

    Keep trying to over-simplify the “problem” with these un-warranted comparisons and we’ll keep getting nowhere with regulators and legislators, as they ultimately see us as intentionally trying to hide the ball.

    Just dumb…

  12. Avatar
    DS

    WTF? That’s a f.ckin good money for ONE song!! What did he expect? What does that idiot audience expect?? Working a few hours on 20% of a POP song, and became billionaire? Someone please explain them that this is not how it works…

    • Avatar
      Evgenii Manev

      Exactly what I think about this mumbling s** of a b****. This is just one song, for God sake! Just make another one!

  13. Avatar
    Gorby

    I wonder how much the record companies get?
    Often in the old days of record releasing the artist/songwriter had a deal with an income of approx 3-10 % of the total income after break even the rest ended up at the record companies.
    As I understand these percentages are not much higher today even if the record company costs has been cut down. And the platform service/distributor (the company who distribute to all digital platforms) takes 20-50% from the income as well depending on your deal. Lets say distributor takes a third of the income from Spotify/Youtube and record company takes 80% (probably more) from whats left and the final 20% are shared among the songwriters and publisher etc.

    It seems like all artists, songwriters complains so much on the digital service,
    when it is most likely their Record companies that laughs on the way to the bank. New indie company deals are ofter 50-50% artist / label. A bit more fair I would say.

  14. Avatar
    David

    But 1 “spin” on radio goes out to thousands of people. 1 spin on YouTube goes to 1 person (or whoever is in the room).

    I get that it would be nice to earn more.. but comparing YouTube or Spotify play to radio play isn’t reasonable

  15. Avatar
    Sami

    This is absolute f**king bullsh*t. The writer probably gets 20% of the song’s ROYALTIES (= what is paid to artist/writers after the record company’s cut, which can be up to 80-85% of incoming money after “deducted costs” on major label deals) which is different from actually owning 20% of the *whole* song.

    For example Spotify pays roughly $0.005 and per stream for the rights owners, and the track has around 130m streams on Spotify so far – it has generated roughly $650,000 so far, so he should have earned $130,000 from Spotify alone. These are actual numbers (I can verify them from my own payments easily).

    From that kind of radioplay numbers you should easily earn hundreds of thousands if your performance rights society is up to the task (like it should be). My guess is that he just has a horrible deal (actually getting like 20% of the 15-20% recoupable royalties paid to the writers/singer). The money actually goes to the record company on deals like this.

  16. Avatar
    Roland of Aragon

    Talented ignorant musicians at it’s best!

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Do not rely on this corrupt system! If you signed on the dotted line and agreed then don’t bitch and complain!

    It’s really that simple.

    Build you song catalog and get it to every major artist as much as you can then watch the dough rake in. Maybe.

    But one song! Seriously, you’re not John Lennon.

    Musicoverlord.com

  17. Avatar
    Ryan

    The bottom line is music is not as valuable as it used to be. The market dictates the value of things and people in general don’t value music anymore. There is no real way to collect and own it for yourself. I spend a fortune on LPs, tapes and CDs up until the last few years when I gave up and gave in to streaming and iTunes. Now I don’t buy anything. I can hear anything I want at the push of a button. Personally I kind of laugh and the record industry that they suffered. They screwed us by giving us a shitty sounding CD and charging double for it and saying it was a sound that would last forever (some of the CDs are now failing that were supposed to last forever) They randomly charged almost double for a CD that actually cost less to make than the tapes that sold for 8-9 dollars. So they deserve it. If you are an artist that is big enough to go on tour and gets lots of people to come and pay to see you play and buy your shirt or whatever then that is great, otherwise you might just have to write songs for your love of writing songs and do it in the time when you are not doing your real job.

  18. Avatar
    Anon

    It’s all about the deals the artists have with the labels. How much do the label keep from streaming and how much do the label give the artists from streaming.

    If you have your own label and get a huge hit, you will make millions from streaming.

    Simple mathematics.

  19. Avatar
    Know your Publishing

    So his cut of performance royalties was 150k…but how much was his 20% cut of mechanical royalties?.. they sold a lot of albums featuring that song..and also a lot of digital singles.. performance is only money paid by biebers tour performances and other public performances of the song. Also what about the synchronization royalties..MTV, Fuse, Vh1 were running that video.. there would be royalties associated with that..so either he got screwed out of the rest by someone (would have been Rodney because according to the story he was signed to him) or there was more money that wasn’t mentioned… I bet it was the former..producers are signing artists and songwriters these days and screwing them worse than a big label would..then he has the gawl to tell this story as if HE wasn’t the reason this songwriter got screwed.

  20. Avatar
    JB

    So, this guy write ONE song, and make $150.000
    How long did it take to write that song?
    I have to work 8 hours a day for a year, week-ends included, to make $150k
    And he complains?
    LOL, you gotta be fucking kidding.

  21. Avatar
    Anonymous

    Let’s do some math:

    Total: $149,000
    Radio: $53,000
    Sirius: $765
    Pandora: $278
    YouTube: $218.17

    Left over: $94,738

    I’m assuming most of the $94k are royalties for album/single sales. I’m willing to bet that those 38 million views on Youtube & 38 million plays on Pandora influenced album/single sales so without them that $94k value would be a lot lower.

    A lot of those 38million views are from videos shared on social media. If I post the song to my feed and 10 of my friends see it, some will like it enough to buy the cd/dowload/single or share it on their own feed.. What’s next? The industry will ask Facebook for money because songs are being played on their site? The solution is simple. Youtube is a video hosting service… if you don’t like the terms.. don’t use it.

  22. Avatar
    Ben

    Wow! An artist didn’t make millions of $$ despite many millions of people enjoying their work? Well, unfortunately there’s many more artists in different fields that don’t even consider making millions and potentially more talented than these hit song writers. You see there are still artists that exist and produce work for the love of art. The love of creating and the love of sharing their work. Hollywood convinced the world that art = money. Nothing else. We have multi, multi millionaires complaining about piracy because their last film only netted them $40m instead of $49m! Art died when art become all about money not when streaming sites appeared. Talented people were getting screwed a long time before the internet. The difference is non-talented agents and managers and investors and producers aren’t making as much as they want anymore so now they start pulling out the violin for the songwriters! Don’t get me wrong, I hear a lot of songs and more often than not, I cannot believe how brilliantly talented these songwriters are and it’s a shame that less talented people are making more money than them. But I won’t have any sympathy for record companies and movie studios and the money hungry people that work for them. Don’t be fooled, they aren’t going to try and bring down pandora and youtube so the Norwegian song writer can make more money!! They know there’s another million other songwriters around the world willing to give away there work for nothing but acknowledgement. The hollywood big wigs complaining about the streaming sites would purchase those sites in a heartbeat if they could and would happily continue paying low royalties once they owned them.

  23. Avatar
    Hit Spins

    There’s still money and big money to be made out of Hits..
    AM/FM high rotation radio airplay royalties, TV/Film Syncs, music in Advertising, mechanicals from Vinyl/CD sales (in particular territories) .. all bring income to the writer & publisher..

    Writers like Max Martin aren’t exactly struggling to pay the rent..

  24. Avatar
    Aaron Peacock

    I see streaming as “radio 2.0” aka, it can be part of a promotional strategy, but it’s not “records sales 2.0” aka the product for sale.

    The album appears to be passe, individual clone-like hit tracks in a given genre have a certain amount of shelf-life and sales curve for DJ’s and the limited core fan groups that goes for tracks and ep’s…

    However, we are all basically dead-in-the-water currently with regards to the continual and clear decline of SALES of a musical product in unit form of some kind.
    1) the 90’s and copying cd’s
    2) the early mp3 and napster days
    3) the post 2000 times where even further decline has been noted

    We are still screwed. Any ideas?
    Ads and subscribers and live gigs are not relevant to what I’m discussing, aka the demise of vinyl, cassettes, cd’s, and other physical media and the lack of consumer interest without a physical artifact, artwork to unfold, etc.

    Remember going to a friends house to listen to new records?

    oh geez, capcha below just asked my a math question- how is THAT anti-bot?

    • Avatar
      Anonymous

      Non-interactive streaming may be how music is promoted, but interactive streaming is how it’s consumed. Unless something changes, actual sales of music (CDs and digital downloads) will continue to decline until they are no more. The labels could make CDs and digital downloads relevant again by windowing new releases in those formats for a certain period of time (a month or two) prior to releasing them on streaming. They could also force Youtube and Spotify to eliminate or limit their free tiers, getting more people to pay for subscriptions. I doubt they will though, because they are too afraid of increased piracy (even though they will ultimately make more money in spite of the increased piracy). So unless the labels stop being chicken shits about piracy and get their heads out of their asses… we’re pretty much screwed.

  25. Avatar
    Wideeyedgirl

    Spotify’s loss nearly tripled from 2015 to 2016, Pandora’s is less but still a loss – they are either really bad at financial mgmt or it is the revenue sharing to the big music labels that are the issue. If they didnt have to give them Eight figure brown paper envelopes to be allowed to operate the artists may have a chance to be properly compensated. It is criminal and I wish something could be done.

  26. Avatar
    Mike

    It’s sad and it’s unfortunate. However, kids have got to realize that this is a result of the technology that they spend their last cent to own. All creative products and jobs will be increasingly devalued. It’s just the way it’s going. Once upon a time, a band had to learn their instruments till their fingers bled then get on the road for years, barely scraping enough money together to eat, before they could even dream of a record contract and subsequent royalties. Sitting around and playing on a laptop then hoping for the same rewards is a symptom of entitlement. As for Los Angeles, like New York, it’s no longer a place for starving artists. It’s the most expensive place in the US to live and filled with people who have enough money to buy a 3 bedroom house for $3 million. If you want to make it in the music business, stay in your home town, get an act together, get on the road, build an audience and do the work. Then, after a few hits, someone will pay you to come to the big city and write for them. There are no short cuts anymore. It’s the price you pay for the technology that you just can’t live without. The party’s over. Look for real employment, a real job and do the songwriting on the side until something substantial breaks. Otherwise you’ll just be another lost kid calling their folks for the money for a plane ticket home.

    • Avatar
      Anonymous

      This^. I see a lot of anger here, and most of it is people complaining about how technology ruined everything for the music industry. Well guess what, computer technology/Internet is here to stay and there’s nothing that will ever change that. So the best thing to do is suck it up and embrace it. Find ways to use it to your advantage. There’s no sense in trying to bring back the old way of making money in this industry because it will never happen again. So you have a choice. Do this as a hobby and hope that something comes out of it, or find a path that does lead to a job, like working for the TV/Film industry, Advertising, etc. Creating a hit song is either going to be luck, or you have connections with artists that seem to be gaining in popularity. That’s about it. In end, you have dreams, and sometimes dreams are made by luck. Most of the time, dreams will just remain dreams.

  27. Avatar
    Anonymous

    Going market rate.
    Get over it.

    Anyone with a smartphone can make beats.

  28. Avatar
    Mat

    $218.17 performance per 34,220,900 YouTube plays.
    In fact
    – he has 20% contribution in the song
    – because he has publisher, it’s only 50% of performance income paid directly from BMI
    – YouTube pays not only performance royalties but also mechanical directly to publisher.

    So real performance rate is 63USD per million streams. Total rate is something about 90 – 100 USD per million. It is low, right but it is not only US income but also income from developing markets like Mexico or Brasil.

  29. Avatar
    Hit Spins

    There’s never been a better time to work in the recorded music business.

    Studio making equipment is so incredible today that you can record master-quality productions using an iPad Pro with Cubasis 2.2 or a MacBook Pro or PC with Cubase/Logic/PT/FL etc.. a pair of headphones and some additional soft/hard-ware and you’ve got amazing tools at your fingertips..

    No need for that large surface SSL duality console or an expensive downtown customized building.. With today’s tech you can work anywhere and have your music distributed globally within hours of finishing your track..

    It’s still the same old thing..

    1. The Song – you still need a great song
    2. The Artist – you still need a great singer to carry your song
    3. The Production – The music’s gotta sound great and the mix has to be right
    4. Exposure – You gotta let the public hear it.. in the old days that was basically just radio airplay and TV performances.. Now you’ve got the Internet and YouTube plays a big part in reaching an audience.

    So a lot of what makes the recorded music business tick is so much better today than what it was like when tech was super-expensive and only rich guys had half decent studios..

    The sticky bit of today’s record business is revenue from sales & streams..

    Big hit’s can and do make a lot of money.. but scoring a big global hit is a little like winning the lottery… some artists are pretty well assured that every song they put out will be a hit.. so for a songwriter or producer it’s advantageous to get with these A-lister artists.. The competition of placing your song is fierce..

    The other thing I believe is that it helps if you’re able to do this fulltime… plus you really have to know your DAW back to front and inside out and that requires time and dedication..

    • Avatar
      Mat

      But it’s master rights income and we talk about performance rights.

  30. Avatar
    PDK

    There is and always has been music. A lack of financial incentives could actually be a good thing for music over time. I imagine 20 years on music without financial motivation could evolve into something more… authentic. Just a thought.

    Additionally, there is so much music (and so many exceptional musicians) out there in the world that record companies and common outlets ignore. I actually look forward to a time when these record companies and outlets are completely obliterated for what I perceive as a negative impact on art and music. YMMV

    So, you may have to dig to find the great stuff that suits you. that’s probably a good thing.

    Nothing worthwhile is easy or cheap.

    That goes for songwriters looking to support their “gift”. It’s hard to get inspired in your mansion with an array of sports cars parked outside.

  31. Avatar
    Anvea

    strongly feel that a site like spotify or pandora or any online distributing site for that manner should be owned by either the government or rights organisations and should be strongly monitored for fair sharing of rights. It’s the same for libraries where books are lended… clear rules. Libraries are not privately/commercially owned like these sites are (as far as I know). It could be made very simple: just create a platform like that and ban the others. Also the destribution of rights should not be based on the old vinyl records or cd model.. it’s a different era and medium so different share right rates would be appropriate.
    Just my thoughts…

  32. Avatar
    Michael Jay

    “I’ve seen too many people sharing and re-posting this Rodney Jerkins article for me to remain silent any longer. I’ve met Rodney but I don’t know him well and I’ve never worked with him. I do know Andre Lindal and consider him to be one of my best friends. I love Andre like a brother. Apparently, without Andre’s knowledge or consent, Rodney exposed Andre’s personal Justin Bieber royalty statements to a live audience and now it’s gone viral as part of this article. But where it gets personal for me is when Rodney Jerkins lies about “discovering” Andre Lindal, claiming that he is the reason Andre moved to Los Angeles from Norway. What a bunch of horse-crap that is. Andre Lindal is one of the most talented songwriter/producers I’ve ever known. I’d love to be able to take credit for “discovering” him but the truth is when I first met Andre he was already working with the super-hot production team Stargate where he co-wrote/produced a song with R&B singer Monica for Clive Davis. When Andre moved to Los Angeles we wrote between 30 and 40 songs together, some of which were recorded and commercially released. More than a year before he met Jerkins, I brought Andre to my friend Barbara Cane who signed him to BMI. Andre didn’t move to Los Angeles for Rodney. He was already here and working. Rodney didn’t discover Andre, but he was lucky enough to work with him on Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” because I’m sure it was Andre’s contribution to that song that made it a hit. Rodney also lies in the interview when he says that Andre couldn’t make enough money to stay in Los Angeles. Andre is still here. He has a nice house with a pool and a recording studio, and he’s currently developing several hot new artists. Sorry, but I just had to set the record straight.”

  33. Avatar
    Gabriel

    The numbers add up, the problem is that you aren’t comparing apples with apples. What you have to compare are not spins with streams, but listeners. How many listeners do you have each time the song spins on the radio? Let’s assume that 50.000. So with 347,820 spins you have 17.391.000.000 listeners, and $53,000 is $0.0030 for each 1.000 listeners. (Remember that this is 20% of the song)

    But each spin at Pandora has just one listener, so $278 for 38,225,700 listeners is 0,0072 for each 1.000 listeners (Remember that this is 20% of the song). At the end Pandora is paying much more per listener than the radio.

    And YouTube is also one listener each stream, so with 34,220,900 views and $218.17, they are paying $0.0063 per each 1.000 listeners. (Remember that this is 20% of the song)

  34. Avatar
    Milo

    Clearly the writer/o.p. has no idea about mechanical and non-interactive royalties. Sounds like an article written by someone who just wants to bitch and moan and doesn’t understand the industry and how to actually make money off those Pandora plays. Lmao.

  35. Avatar
    Michael

    I don’t know why this comes as a shock… Composers and artists earn their money different places…
    Composers earn on royalties when their music is being used, and artists and labels earn when their music is sold aka streaming today.

    Radio airplay is almost 100% royalties, so the artist and label earn almost nothing when the song is play on the radio.

    Streaming is selling, and is almost 100% the artist and label that earns on that…

    If the songs is used in a movie or commercial it is also royalties so it’s the composers earning on that, not the artist.
    If the song is played live at a concert it is also 100% royalties which is the composer and not the artist…

    So of course the composer doesn’t earn anything on streaming from youtube and pandora.. Just like the artist and label doesn’t earn anything on radio airplay and other licensing. It has always been like that.

  36. Avatar
    Marie

    This isnt true. I havent charted and make much more than this on royalties per year.

    Sound Exchange, Mroc & Socan are what I receive and have not had a sync deal either. They definitely aren’t mentioning all the royalties here. Sync deals are by far the best as well.

  37. Avatar
    Richie

    If you can find a way for next in chain to pay you properly ?? (Spotify pandora etc) then these companies will be required to find a way to be paid by their customers Or not… at present they Just make money … as a ‘consumer’ I see streaming as like a subscription radio who I pay not to talk and play what I when I want…. But I still listen to radio too… as an (unsuccessful hobbyist) ‘artist’ it’s a way to conveniently share My songs with friends … In general my biggest challenge is finding new music (I like) and seeing my dollars go direct to artist (And artist giving me customer loyalty points!) … the next platform will do this… but will have to compete with exist platforms… think it thru and an answer will emerge