Shocking Facts for Songwriters & Composers

Streaming of music has destroyed the livelihoods of composers and songwriters worldwide:
In the 1980s if I sold a million singles I made about US$35,000 – that’s an income. Today if one of my songs is streamed a million times, I make about US$38. That’s a pizza!” Eddie Schwartz, songwriter, co-chair of Music Creators North America and President of CIAM at the The United Nations General Assembly, International IP Day.


The identifiers for recordings and songs that show authors and performers are not linked:
Recordings have metadata attached that identifies the artist, the copyright owner etc. Songs have metadata allocated that shows the songwriters. These two sets of metadata CANNOT communicate, there is no link between them.


Licence fees are kept secret by those to whom the songwriters have granted their rights for administration:
Licences with online music services between music publishers and between the services and the CMOs that have been entrusted with the talent’s rights are shielded behind Non-Disclosure Agreements so they do not know how, or how much, the publishers and CMOs are being paid and how much they share with the talent.


Multiple song identifying systems operate across the industry and there is no central record of songs, who wrote them and who publishes them:
A songwriter’s CMO may have one set of works’ identifiers, other CMOs administering the same songs in other countries will operate a separate system of identifiers (and therefore different ID numbers) and publishers operate their own internal identifiers for the songs they are supposed to protect and exploit. These different systems are not linked and despite a hub and spoke data system operating between CMOs, there is no central resource of songs.


The music publisher can squirrel away lump sums because the writer is not paid unless the publisher can match the money exactly to the song:
In a composer or songwriter’s contract there will be a clause that says the publisher only has to share revenue if it is “directly and identifiably” attributable to the song. This provision serves as a built-in disincentive for the publisher to keep accurate data about the songs they control. If the publisher cannot match the money exactly to the song, they can keep it!

Who can help?

Having got here, you may now need more information and support in your fight for fairness. Collective associations are the best place to start.

Although you may feel David to the industry's Goliath, having the backing of trade bodies helps level the playing field.

Information is power!

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Wanna be a whistleblower?

Learn about the steps to take and the protections afforded to those who wish to call out wrongdoing.

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