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‘All levers need pulling’ to make streaming work for songwriters


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The debate about whether songwriters aren’t getting their fair share of music-streaming royalties – and for many of them, whether their craft is sustainable at all – continues.

Midia Research boss Mark Mulligan has written a handy blog post summarising the four key factors shaping how much songwriters earn from streaming.

They are: the fact that publishing royalties are “around 3.6 times less than master recordings-related royalties” (an improvement on the past but still a big gap); inefficiencies in the process by which collecting societies collect and distribute royalties; the “industrialisation of songwriting” with royalties often being split between many songwriters; and the unbundling of the album, where “now that listeners and playlists dissect albums, skipping filler for killer, a weak song simply pays less. Tough luck if you only wrote the filler songs on the album”.

Mulligan’s view is that the music industry (DSPs included) must work together to fix all four of these issues. “No single tactic will move the dial… All levers need pulling,” he wrote. “Until they are, songwriters will feel short-changed and will remain the open wound that prevents streaming from fulfilling its creator potential.”

Stuart Dredge

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