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Hipgnosis boss criticises labels for songwriter royalties


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Merck Mercuriadis isn’t just snapping up catalogues left, right and centre for his Hipgnosis Songs Fund; he’s also wading in to the debate about musicians’ streaming royalties.

Well, more accurately: he’s responded to a journalist’s question about the issue in relation to the UK’s #BrokenRecord campaign, but his answer to the BBC’s Mark Savage was pretty punchy.

“Yes, streaming services need to pay songwriters more money. Where I think the #BrokenRecord campaign is imperfect is that their focus is on the streaming services [when] the real villains are the major record companies that are taking the lion’s share of the money,” said Mercuriadis, who went on to focus on how the 70p in every pound that goes to rightsholders from streaming is divided.

“As it currently stands, 58.5p out of that remaining 70p is going to the record company. The artist is getting, at best, one sixth of that [meaning] 11.5p is going to the song,” he said. “We think it’s time that the record companies stepped up and recognised that there’s a real imbalance between what’s being paid for recorded music versus what’s being paid for the song.”

Stuart Dredge

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