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Sunnier Streaming Ahead for Songwriters

Updated: Dec 14, 2019

Spotify Settles Lawsuit with Songwriters David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick and Copyright Alliance’s Keith Kupferschmid hosts workshop at YouTube VidCon

Streaming Sun

Could there be sunnier horizons for the songwriters’ struggle to get fairly paid for streaming royalties?

The issue with streaming has been two fold for songwriters.

One problem is that instead of collecting all the royalty money in one place for streaming income, songwriters and publishers get part of their money from the PROs (Performing Rights Organizations including BMI, ASCAP and SESAC in the United States), and the other part in the form of mechanical royalty that is collected by Harry Fox Agency, or independently by music administrators including our own favorite Bluewater Music Services Corp.

It’s difficult to figure out which performance payment from the PRO matches the mechanical payment, because in the United States ASCAP and BMI are prevented from collecting both mechanical and performance royalty streams on behalf of their members/affiliates. They can only collect performance royalty.

SESAC can collect both mechanical and performance income, and in fact recently purchased Harry Fox Agency, which is where many of the larger publishers including Sony, Universal, Curb and others handle their mechanical licensing.

The other problem is that streaming income is pretty small compared to other income streams. Our recent royalty statements show a mechanical royalty income (per stream) of around $0.002880 for a 100% solo written composition, and like we said, it’s tough to tell how much of the PRO pay out is coming from that same stream accounting.

What does all this mean for songwriters?

One thing it means is that if the reports in Billboard [see source link below] are correct, songwriters will have more of a say in helping streaming companies figure out who to pay for what usages.

In addition to these positive developments in the Spotify settlement and seeming willingness to work toward a mutually agreeable solution with songwriters’ representatives, the Copyright Alliance recently reported that its Keith Kupferschmid would be speaking about creators rights at an upcoming YouTube VidCon video creators convention.

Could this be a trend toward a more harmonious and mutually respectful digital landscape for creators and artists? Only time will tell, but all signs point to optimistic in this Songpreneurs’ opinion.

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