Complaints about artists taking an unmerited share of songwriting royalties on songs written for them aren’t new: the phrase ‘change a word, get a third’ has been around for years. Now songwriter Ryan Tedder has come out swinging against the practice, in a speech at the National Music Publishers’ Association’s annual meeting.
“In the entire ecosystem in the food chains of music, we’re at the absolute bottom. If the artist is big enough, they’ll ask us for 25-30 percent of what we write, even though they’re in a different country. That’s bulls**t, by the way,” said Tedder, according to Billboard. “I would never ask a songwriter for a piece of a song I didn’t write. I don’t know who started it, I don’t care how talented you are, or the mechanisms or the machine or the label behind you.” he went on to suggest that artists tempted to adopt such a policy need to spend more time with songwriters. “Hang out with them, eating ramen with them on the floor of their apartments in New York or L.A. and wondering if the sample that the producer didn’t tell you he snuck into the song is going to eat up 90 percent of the damn song…”