I am an aspiring songwriter and member of ASCAP. When I look towards my future as an independent songwriter/musician/performer I do not have a lot of hope. There seems to be an ongoing trend with no shortage of digital and physical outlets for my music including digital streaming, internet radio, youtube, regular radio, satellite radio, pandora, spotify, etc. These companies are all huge, highly financed and making millions for their executives and stockholders, yet when I look at payout statements for artists, even highly popular artists, I only see minuscule payments. The payments are so small that millions of plays result in less than $150.
The services that offer music have had the benefit of this very low payout rate for far too long. The consent decrees protect these multibillion dollar corporations from having to pay a fair rate to the songwriters who supply their only product. Rather than innovate and add value to the music by offering differentiated services with new business models, they rely on the same old government mandated subsidy by songwriter business model to offer all of our songs for fractions of a penny.
In today's corporate controlled economy, songwriters and their performing rights organizations have been handcuffed unfairly for decades. Songs are not commodities and should not be regulated by government. Music is crafted from years of training and creative development and should be allowed to be controlled fully by the creator. This means each creator should be able to set a rate for their music, decide where it can be offered and how it is presented to the public. If we choose to band together with other songwriters and place our trust in a performing rights organization, that organization should have to power to do whats best for their members. That power should not be diluted by a consent decree or rate court.
Music has a timeless quality. Good music is good forever, and when a listener truly connects with a song, that song stays with them always. And each time they hear that piece, the music can bring a range of emotion. Please stop commoditizing our art.
This letter was sent to the Department of Justice, songwriters deserve a fair wage.