Yesterday, we reported on the claim by ‘All About That Bass’ co-writer Kevin Kadish that the song’s 178m streams had earned him $5,679 – and we wondered what digital service those streams were on. Overnight, a spokesperson from ASCAP, of which Kadish is a member, got in touch with the details.
The figures were specifically for performance royalties from Pandora, so did not include the track’s 290m streams on Spotify or the 1bn+ streams of its official video on YouTube. The clarification is important, not least for showing why songwriters in the US are so angry with Pandora – especially when they see the company as lobbying to reduce its performance royalty payments even further.
Yet this also illustrates one problem with the way artist and songwriter complaints are reported on by the media: the report by The Tennessean that we picked up only mentioned “streaming”, while several other reports on Kadish’s comments mistook them for referring to Spotify. At the same time, when a songwriter asks – as he did – “How do you feed your family?” when referring to income from a single digital service, it’s fair to press for more details about their track’s total earnings from all sources, rather than a single piece of the puzzle.
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